Dog walking is associated with more outdoor play and independent mobility for children

Hayley Christian, Gina Trapp, Karen Villanueva, Stephen Zubrick, Rachelle Koekemoer, Billie Giles-Corti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 8 Citations

Abstract

Objective: Dog ownership is positively associated with children's physical activity. It is plausible that dog-facilitated activity rather than dog ownership per se encourages children's physical activity behaviors. We examined relationships between dog walking and children's physical activity, and outdoor play and independent mobility.

Method: Cross-sectional survey data from the 2007 Perth (Western Australia) TRavel, Environment, and Kids (TREK) project were analyzed for 727 10–12 year olds with a family dog. Weekly minutes of overall physical activity and walking, local walking and outdoor play were collected from children and parents. Children's weekly pedometer steps were measured. Independent mobility was determined by active independent travel to 15 local destinations.

Results: Overall, 55% of children walked their dog. After adjustment, more dog walkers than non-dog walkers walked in the neighborhood (75% vs. 47%), played in the street (60% vs. 45%) and played in the yard (91% vs. 84%) (all p ≤ 0.05). Dog walkers were more independently mobile than non-dog walkers (p ≤ 0.001). Dog walking status was not associated with overall physical activity, walking, or pedometer steps (p > 0.05).

Conclusions: Dog-facilitated play and physical activity can be an effective strategy for increasing children's physical activity. Dog walking may provide a readily accessible and safe option for improving levels of independent mobility.

LanguageEnglish
Pages259-263
JournalPreventive Medicine
Volume67
Early online date10 Aug 2014
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2014

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Walking
Dogs
Walkers
Exercise
Ownership
Social Adjustment
Western Australia
Cross-Sectional Studies
Parents

Cite this

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title = "Dog walking is associated with more outdoor play and independent mobility for children",
abstract = "Objective: Dog ownership is positively associated with children's physical activity. It is plausible that dog-facilitated activity rather than dog ownership per se encourages children's physical activity behaviors. We examined relationships between dog walking and children's physical activity, and outdoor play and independent mobility. Method: Cross-sectional survey data from the 2007 Perth (Western Australia) TRavel, Environment, and Kids (TREK) project were analyzed for 727 10–12 year olds with a family dog. Weekly minutes of overall physical activity and walking, local walking and outdoor play were collected from children and parents. Children's weekly pedometer steps were measured. Independent mobility was determined by active independent travel to 15 local destinations. Results: Overall, 55{\%} of children walked their dog. After adjustment, more dog walkers than non-dog walkers walked in the neighborhood (75{\%} vs. 47{\%}), played in the street (60{\%} vs. 45{\%}) and played in the yard (91{\%} vs. 84{\%}) (all p ≤ 0.05). Dog walkers were more independently mobile than non-dog walkers (p ≤ 0.001). Dog walking status was not associated with overall physical activity, walking, or pedometer steps (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Dog-facilitated play and physical activity can be an effective strategy for increasing children's physical activity. Dog walking may provide a readily accessible and safe option for improving levels of independent mobility.",
author = "Hayley Christian and Gina Trapp and Karen Villanueva and Stephen Zubrick and Rachelle Koekemoer and Billie Giles-Corti",
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Dog walking is associated with more outdoor play and independent mobility for children. / Christian, Hayley; Trapp, Gina; Villanueva, Karen; Zubrick, Stephen; Koekemoer, Rachelle; Giles-Corti, Billie.

In: Preventive Medicine, Vol. 67, 10.2014, p. 259-263.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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AU - Trapp,Gina

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AU - Giles-Corti,Billie

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N2 - Objective: Dog ownership is positively associated with children's physical activity. It is plausible that dog-facilitated activity rather than dog ownership per se encourages children's physical activity behaviors. We examined relationships between dog walking and children's physical activity, and outdoor play and independent mobility. Method: Cross-sectional survey data from the 2007 Perth (Western Australia) TRavel, Environment, and Kids (TREK) project were analyzed for 727 10–12 year olds with a family dog. Weekly minutes of overall physical activity and walking, local walking and outdoor play were collected from children and parents. Children's weekly pedometer steps were measured. Independent mobility was determined by active independent travel to 15 local destinations. Results: Overall, 55% of children walked their dog. After adjustment, more dog walkers than non-dog walkers walked in the neighborhood (75% vs. 47%), played in the street (60% vs. 45%) and played in the yard (91% vs. 84%) (all p ≤ 0.05). Dog walkers were more independently mobile than non-dog walkers (p ≤ 0.001). Dog walking status was not associated with overall physical activity, walking, or pedometer steps (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Dog-facilitated play and physical activity can be an effective strategy for increasing children's physical activity. Dog walking may provide a readily accessible and safe option for improving levels of independent mobility.

AB - Objective: Dog ownership is positively associated with children's physical activity. It is plausible that dog-facilitated activity rather than dog ownership per se encourages children's physical activity behaviors. We examined relationships between dog walking and children's physical activity, and outdoor play and independent mobility. Method: Cross-sectional survey data from the 2007 Perth (Western Australia) TRavel, Environment, and Kids (TREK) project were analyzed for 727 10–12 year olds with a family dog. Weekly minutes of overall physical activity and walking, local walking and outdoor play were collected from children and parents. Children's weekly pedometer steps were measured. Independent mobility was determined by active independent travel to 15 local destinations. Results: Overall, 55% of children walked their dog. After adjustment, more dog walkers than non-dog walkers walked in the neighborhood (75% vs. 47%), played in the street (60% vs. 45%) and played in the yard (91% vs. 84%) (all p ≤ 0.05). Dog walkers were more independently mobile than non-dog walkers (p ≤ 0.001). Dog walking status was not associated with overall physical activity, walking, or pedometer steps (p > 0.05). Conclusions: Dog-facilitated play and physical activity can be an effective strategy for increasing children's physical activity. Dog walking may provide a readily accessible and safe option for improving levels of independent mobility.

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