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Dog owners ‘more likely to meet exercise guidelines’
Sixty four per cent of dog owners said they walk with their dogs for at least 150 minutes per week.

Health benefits should be recognised and facilitated, researchers say

Dog owners are four times more likely to complete the recommended level of physical activity per week than non dog owners, new research has confirmed.

It is recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week, but this is only achieved by 66 per cent of men and 58 per cent of women in England.

Whilst it is expected than dog ownership encourages physical activity, it has previously been unclear whether dog walking results in more physical activity, or simply replaces other forms of exercise.

According to a study by the University of Liverpool, published in Scientific Reports, 64 per cent of dog owners walk with their dogs for at least 150 minutes per week. Dog owners were found to walk more frequently and for longer periods than non dog owners. And this activity was carried out in addition to, not instead of other forms of physical activity.

Researchers studied the self-reported activity of 385 households in West Cheshire, comprising 191 dog owning adults, 455 non dog owning adults and 46 children.

Dr Carri Westgarth commented: “Our findings provide support for the role of pet dogs in promoting and maintaining positive health behaviours such as walking. Without dogs, it is likely that population physical activity levels would be much lower.

“The health benefits of dog ownership should be recognised and facilitated through the provision of dog-supportive walking environments and pet-friendly housing; failure of planning and policy makers to provide these may significantly damage population levels of physical activity.”

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World Bee Day celebrations begin

News Story 1
 Today (20 May) marks the fifth annual World Bee Day, which raises awareness of the importance of bees and pollinators to people and the planet. Observed on the anniversary of pioneering Slovenian beekeeper Anton Jana's birthday, this year's celebration is themed: 'Bee Engaged: Celebrating the diversity of bees and beekeeping systems'.

Organisations and people celebrating the day will raise awareness of the accelerated decline in pollinator diversity, and highlight the importance of sustainable beekeeping systems and a wide variety of bees. Slovenia, the initiator of World Bee Day, will be focusing on teaching young people about the significance of pollinators. 

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News Shorts
Further avian flu cases confirmed

Three cases of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) H5N1 have been confirmed in recent days, bringing the total number of cases in England to 98.

On Thursday, the APHA confirmed two cases of HPAI H5N1 near Redgrave, Mid Suffolk and Market Weston, West Suffolk. A case H5N1 was also confirmed in poultry at a premises near Southwell, Newark and Sherwood, Nottinghamshire.

Protection and surveillance zones are in place around the affected premises. Further details are available at gov.uk