Is dog ownership or dog walking associated with weight status in children and their parents?

Timperio, Anna, Salmon, Jo, Chu, Binh and Andrianopoulos, Nick 2008, Is dog ownership or dog walking associated with weight status in children and their parents?, Health promotion journal of Australia, vol. 19, no. 1, pp. 60-63.

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Title Is dog ownership or dog walking associated with weight status in children and their parents?
Author(s) Timperio, AnnaORCID iD for Timperio, Anna
Salmon, JoORCID iD for Salmon, Jo
Chu, Binh
Andrianopoulos, Nick
Journal name Health promotion journal of Australia
Volume number 19
Issue number 1
Start page 60
End page 63
Total pages 4
Publisher Australian Health Promotion Association
Place of publication West Perth, WA
Publication date 2008-04
ISSN 1036-1073
Keyword(s) dog ownership
dog walking
Summary Issue addressed: Several studies have shown that dog owners do more physical activity than non-owners; however, associations with weight status are unknown. This study examined associations between dog ownership, frequency of dog walking and weight status among children and their parents. Methods: Height and weight were measured for 281 children aged 5-6 years and 864 children aged 10-12 years. One parent reported their own and their partner's height and weight (n=1,108), dog ownership, usual frequency their child walks a dog, and usual frequency of walking the dog as a family. Logistic regression analyses were adjusted for sex (children only), physical activity, education, neighbourhood SES, parental weight status (children only) and clustering by school. Results: Dog ownership ranged from 45-57% in the two age groups. Nearly one in four 5-6 year-olds and 37% of 10-12 year- olds walked a dog at least once/week. Weekly dog walking as a family was reported by 24-28% of respondents. The odds of being overweight or obese were lower among younger children who owned a dog (OR=0.5, 95% CI 0.3-0.8) and higher among mothers whose family walked the dog together (OR--1.3, 95% CI 1.0-1.7). Conclusions: Dog ownership may offer some protection from overweight among young children. It is important that families with a dog are encouraged to walk or play with it regularly. Associations with weight status may depend on the type of dog owned, length of ownership and the nature of walks or interaction.
Language eng
Indigenous content on
Field of Research 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health
Socio Economic Objective 920205 Health Education and Promotion
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, Australian Health Promotion Association
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