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Pediatr Obes. 2017 Oct;12(5):e37-e40. doi: 10.1111/ijpo.12156. Epub 2016 May 27.

Pet dogs and child physical activity: the role of child-dog attachment.

Author information

1
Research Institute, Bassett Medical Center, Cooperstown, NY, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Dog ownership has been associated with increased physical activity in children which in turn may mitigate childhood obesity.

OBJECTIVE:

To measure the association between child-dog attachment and child physical activity and screen time.

METHODS:

Cross-sectional study including 370 children (ages 4-10) who had pet dogs in the home. Parents completed the DartScreen, a web-based screener, before a well-child visit. Screener domains included child body mass index (BMI), physical activity, screen time and dog-related questions. The Companion Animal Bonding Scale (CABS) was used to measure child attachment to the dog. Clinic nurses weighed and measured the children. Associations between CABS, BMI z-score, screen time and physical activity were estimated.

RESULTS:

CABS was strongly associated with time spent being active with the dog (F = 22.81, p < 0.0001), but not with BMI z-score or screen time.

CONCLUSIONS:

A higher level of child attachment to a pet dog is associated with increased child physical activity.

KEYWORDS:

Attachment; children; companion animal bonding scale; dog; human-animal interaction; physical activity

PMID:
27229185
PMCID:
PMC5285500
[Available on 2018-10-01]
DOI:
10.1111/ijpo.12156
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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