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Dog Walking and Physical Activity in the United States

Authors: Ham SA, Epping J.
Journal: Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(2):A47,, 2006.

Data from the 2001 National Household Travel Survey (NHTS) was used to determine the contribution of dog walking to regular physical activity among dog walkers. The U.S. Department of Transportation collected travel data through household telephone interviews with 160,578 people. In an initial telephone interview, participants were asked to keep a 24-hour travel diary of all trips made by any means of transportation on a randomly assigned day and report the information in a follow-up telephone interview. Among those who walked their dogs, 58.9% reported walking their dog two or more times in one day, and 80.2% reported walking their dogs one or more times in one day for at least 10 minutes. Almost half of the dog walkers in this study obtained at least 30 minutes of walking through bouts of at least 10 minutes each in one day, suggesting that dog walking contributes to a physically active lifestyle. Dog walking is convenient for most dog owners and may provide support and motivation for physical activity in the same way a human buddy system provides support for physical activity.

Keywords: PA Measurement, Cross-Sectional Survey, Community, Leisure-time

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