Advertisement

Relationships Among Dog Ownership and Leisure-Time Walking in Western Canadian Adults

      Background

      Dog ownership may be an effective tailored intervention among adults for promoting physical activity. This study examined the relationship between walking, physical activity levels, and potential psychological mediators between people who owned dogs and those who did not own dogs in the Capital Region District of Greater Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Data were collected in September 2004; analyses were conducted in January 2005.

      Methods

      A random sample of men (n=177) and women (n=174) aged 20 to 80 years participated. Questionnaires were mailed out in 2004 to collect information about demographics, dog ownership, leisure-time walking, physical activity levels, and theory of planned behavior (TPB) constructs.

      Results

      The analyses revealed that dog owners spent more time in mild and moderate physical activities and walked an average of 300 minutes per week compared to non–dog owners who walked an average of 168 minutes per week. A mediator analysis suggests that dog obligation acts as a mediator between dog ownership and physical activity. Moreover, the theory of planned behavior constructs of intention and perceived behavioral control explained 13% of the variance in walking behavior with an additional 11% variance in walking behavior being explained by dog obligation. Regarding intention to walk, the TPB explained 46% of the variance in intention to walk with dog obligation adding an additional 1% variance.

      Conclusions

      In this group of Canadians, those who owned a dog participated in more mild to moderate physical activity than those who did not. Acquiring a dog should be explored as an intervention to get people more physically active.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment

      Purchase one-time access:

      Academic & Personal: 24 hour online accessCorporate R&D Professionals: 24 hour online access
      One-time access price info
      • For academic or personal research use, select 'Academic and Personal'
      • For corporate R&D use, select 'Corporate R&D Professionals'

      Subscribe:

      Subscribe to American Journal of Preventive Medicine
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • Booth M.
        Assessment of physical activity.
        Res Q Exerc Sport. 2000; 71: 114-120
        • Bouchard C.
        • Blair S.N.
        Introductory comments of the consensus of physical activity and obesity.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999; 31: S498-S501
        • Craig C.
        • Cameron C.
        Increasing physical activity. Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute, Ottawa2004
        • Katzmarzyk P.T.
        • Gledhill N.
        • Shephard R.J.
        The economic burden of physical inactivity in Canada.
        CMAJ. 2000; 163: 1435-1440
        • Owen N.
        • Humpel N.
        • Leslie E.
        • Bauman A.
        • Sallis J.F.
        Understanding environmental influences on walking.
        Am J Prev Med. 2004; 27: 67-76
        • Suminski R.
        • Poston W.
        • Petosa R.
        • Stevens E.
        • Katzenmoyer L.
        Features of the neighborhood environment and walking by U.S. adults.
        Am J Prev Med. 2005; 28: 149-155
      1. Canadian Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute. Physical activity monitor, 2000. Available at: www.cflri.ca/cflri/pa/surveys/2000survey/2000survey.html. Accessed December 27, 2004.

        • Siegel P.
        • Brackbill R.
        • Heath G.
        The epidemiology of walking for exercise.
        Am J Public Health. 1995; 85: 706-710
        • Bauman A.
        • Russell S.
        • Furber S.
        • Dobson A.
        The epidemiology of dog walking.
        Med J Aust. 2001; 175: 632-634
        • Anderson W.
        • Reid C.
        • Jennings G.
        Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
        Med J Aust. 1992; 157: 298-301
        • Dembicki D.
        • Anderson J.
        Pet ownership may be a factor in improving health of the elderly.
        J Nutr Elder. 1996; 15: 15-31
        • Serpell J.
        Beneficial effects of pet ownership on some aspects of human health and behaviour.
        J R Soc Med. 1991; 84: 717-720
        • Giles-Corti B.
        • Donovan R.
        Relative influences of individual, social environmental, and physical environmental correlates of walking.
        Am J Public Health. 2003; 93: 1583-1589
        • Beck A.
        • Meyers M.
        Health enhancement and companion animal ownership.
        Annu Rev Public Health. 1996; 17: 247-257
        • Johnson R.A.
        • Meadows R.L.
        Older Latinos, pets, and health.
        West J Nurs Res. 2002; 24: 609-620
        • Siegel J.
        Stressful life events and use of physician services among the elderly.
        J Personality Social Psychol. 1990; 58: 1081-1086
        • Headey B.
        Pet ownership.
        Med J Aust. 2003; 179: 460-461
        • Baranowski T.
        • Anderson C.
        • Carmack C.
        Mediating variable framework in physical activity interventions.
        Am J Prev Med. 1998; 15: 266-297
        • Lewis B.A.
        • Marcus B.H.
        • Pate R.R.
        • Dunn A.L.
        Psychosocial mediators of physical activity behavior among adults and children.
        Am J Prev Med. 2002; 23: 26-35
        • Friedmann E.
        • Thomas S.
        Pet ownership, social support, and one-year survival after acute myocardial infarction in the cardiac arrhythmia suppression trial (CAST).
        Am J Cardiol. 1995; 76: 1213-1217
        • Courneya K.S.
        Antecedent correlates and theories of exercise behaviour.
        in: Morris T. Summers J. Sport psychology theories, applications, and issues. 2nd ed. John Wiley and Sons, Sydney2004: 492-512
        • Hagger M.S.
        • Chatzisarantis N.L.D.
        • Biddle S.J.H.
        A meta-analytic review of the theories of reasoned action and planned behavior in physical activity.
        J Sport Exerc Psychol. 2002; 24: 1-12
        • Ajzen I.
        The theory of planned behavior.
        Organ Behav Hum Decision Process. 1991; 50: 179-211
        • Dillman D.A.
        Mail and other self-administered questionnaires.
        in: Rossi P.H. Wright J.D. Anderson A.B. Handbook of survey research. Academic Press, Toronto1983: 359-378
      2. Gilmore J. Health of Canadians living in census metropolitan areas, 2004. Available at: www.statcan.ca/english/freepub/11-015-XIE/cma/health.htm. Accessed May 1, 2005.

      3. Ministry of Labour and Citizens’ Services. BC Stats. Infoline: retirement in British Columbia, 1997. Available at: www.bcstats.gov.bc.ca//releases/info1997/in9702.pdf . Accessed September 14, 2005.

        • Godin G.
        • Jobin J.
        • Bouillon J.
        Assessment of leisure time exercise behavior by self-report.
        Can J Public Health. 1986; 77: 359-361
        • Godin G.
        • Shephard R.J.
        A simple method to assess exercise behavior in the community.
        Can J Appl Sport Sci. 1985; 10: 141-146
        • Shephard R.
        Godin leisure-time exercise questionnaire.
        Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1997; 29: S36-S38
        • Sudman S.
        • Bradburn N.M.
        Asking questions. 2nd ed. Jossey-Bass Publishers, San Francisco1983
        • Rhodes R.E.
        • Jones L.
        • Courneya K.S.
        Extending the theory of planned behavior in the exercise domains.
        Res Q Exerc Sport. 2002; 73: 193-199
      4. Health Canada. Canada’s physical activity guide to healthy active living. Health Canada, Ottawa1998
        • Cohen J.
        A power primer.
        Psychol Bull. 1992; 112: 155-159
        • Baron R.M.
        • Kenny D.A.
        The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research.
        J Personality Social Psychol. 1986; 51: 1173-1182
        • Parslow R.
        • Jorm A.
        Pet ownership and risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
        Med J Aust. 2003; 179: 466-468
        • Conner M.
        • Armitage C.J.
        Extending the theory of planned behavior.
        J Appl Soc Psychol. 1998; 28: 1429
        • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
        Physical activity and health. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Atlanta GA1996