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Not just 'a walking the dog': dog walking and pet play and their association with recommended physical activity among adolescents


Martin, K and Wood, L and Christian, H and Trapp, GSA, Not just 'a walking the dog': dog walking and pet play and their association with recommended physical activity among adolescents, Observational Studies, 29, (6) pp. 353-356. ISSN 2767-3324 (2015) [Refereed Article]

Copyright Statement

Copyright 2015 by American Journal of Health Promotion,

DOI: doi:10.4278/ajhp.130522-ARB-262


Purpose: To examine the role of pet play and dog walking in children's and adolescents' leisure time, and the relationship between these activities and physical activity.

Design: The study design was observational.

Setting: The study setting was metropolitan Perth and nonmetropolitan regions in Western Australia.

Subjects: The study included 1097 primary school (mean age, 10.1 years; SD, 1.6 years) and 657 secondary school (mean age, 14.0 years; SD, 1.3 years) students.

Measures: Validated measures of total physical activity, dog walking, and pet play activity (prevalence and time) were calculated.

Analysis: Generalized linear models tested for differences between proportions, while adjusting for socioeconomic status, age, and school-level clustering.

Results: Approximately one third of primary school and one quarter of secondary school students reported that they walked the dog at least once in the last week. Pet play was the most common play activity for primary and secondary school girls, and the second and third most popular play activity for secondary and primary school boys, respectively. Secondary school students who walked the dog or played with pets spent an average of 1 hour per week on each activity, and they were significantly more likely (p < .005) to meet national physical activity recommendations than secondary school students not reporting these activities.

Conclusion: Given the significant proportion of young people who frequently engage in dog walking and pet play, and the high level of pet ownership in many Western countries, promotion of these activities to support young people's health is warranted.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:children, children's play, health focus, fitness,physical activity, manuscript format, research, outcome measure, behavioral, pets, physical activity, prevention research, research purpose, descriptive, setting, family, strategy, skill building/behav
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Health services and systems
Research Field:Mental health services
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Provision of health and support services
Objective Field:Mental health services
UTAS Author:Martin, K (Professor Karen Martin)
ID Code:153597
Year Published:2015
Web of Science® Times Cited:17
Deposited By:Education
Deposited On:2022-09-27
Last Modified:2022-11-18

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