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Pets linked to healthier lifestyles, survey suggests

Nearly a third of dog walkers exercise for at least half an hour everyday, compared to just a fifth of UK adults overall, a survey reveals today.

Of the dog owners surveyed 40% revealed that owning a pet has improved their overall health.

In the survey of 2,000 people, (1,000 pet owners and 1,000 non-pet owners) a fifth admitted to not exercising at all and a third (33%) only exercise occasionally. Of those who say they don't exercise, nearly half (49%) blame it on lack of enjoyment and a sixth (16%) say it's because they simply don't have the time.

Jeremy Hunt, the secretary of state for health, has made it clear that obesity is a priority for the next five years of government.

In his first speech since being reappointed as health secretary, Hunt said there would be a focus on public health.

He said: “I think it is a great scandal that one in five children leave primary school clinically obese and it is something that we cannot say that we accept. We absolutely need to do something about that.”