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Curr Sports Med Rep. 2011 Jul;10(4):224-7. doi: 10.1249/JSR.0b013e318223ee41.

Dog ownership and dog walking to promote physical activity and health in patients.

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Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.


Lack of physical activity is a significant risk factor for many chronic diseases and conditions and is associated with significant medical costs. Approximately half of adults and more than a third of adolescents and youth in the United States do not achieve recommended levels of physical activity. Effective population-level strategies are needed to promote activities that are practical, accessible, and sustainable and that can reach a large proportion of the population. Dog walking may be such a strategy. Walking is popular, easy, and sustainable and has a low risk of injury. Owning dogs confers many health benefits, and dog walking, in particular, can help promote physical activity and improve health. Physicians and other health care providers can play a unique and integral role in promoting physical activity among patients by recommending dog walking both to dog owners and to non-dog owners as a purposeful, enjoyable, and sustainable form of regular physical activity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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