Teens with dogs more active due to playing

Dog ownership appears to make teens more active, according to a new study from researchers at the University of Virginia.

They surveyed 618 pairs of adolescents and their parents living in the Minneapolis area about the number of dogs in the home and how much time they spent physically active.

The teens in dog-owning families logged about 15 additional minutes of moderate-to-vigorous activity per week after the researchers controlled for factors such as gender and socioeconomic status.

Could it be that kids actually walk the family dog instead of the parents? Well, no.

"Children and adolescents may not have the primary responsibility of walking the dog but may actively play with the family dog, thus contributing to their overall minutes engaging in physical activity," the authors wrote.

The study will appear in the March issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.