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Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2019 Sep 11;16(18). pii: E3355. doi: 10.3390/ijerph16183355.

Does Dog Ownership Affect Physical Activity, Sleep, and Self-Reported Health in Older Adults?

Author information

1
Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague 165 00, Czech Republic. mickova.eliska@seznam.cz.
2
Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague 165 00, Czech Republic. machovakristyna@af.czu.cz.
3
Faculty of Physical Education and Sport, Charles University, Prague 162 52, Czech Republic. dadova@ftvs.cuni.cz.
4
Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, Faculty of Agrobiology, Food and Natural Resources Czech University of Life Sciences, Prague 165 00, Czech Republic. Svobodovai@af.czu.cz.

Abstract

Physical activity (PA) is crucial for maintaining good health of older adults and owning a dog and walking it can enforce it. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effect of dog ownership on PA in older adults as well as its positive impact on perceived degree of health, and sleep. There were 44 participants of mean age 68 ± 5.4 years (18 males, 26 females) enrolled in this study (dog owners-DO, n = 26; non-dog owners-NDO, n = 18). Xiaomi Mi Band 2 accelerometer, International Physical Activity Questionnaire- Short form (IPAQ-Short Form) and SF-36 questionnaires were used to measure the level of PA, sleep, and subjective health. A statistically significant difference was observed in favor of dog owners in most of the monitored parameters. All accelerometer PA parameters (step count, activity time, distance, calories) showed a significant difference at a p < 0.01. Sleep parameters were significant in total sleep length (p = 0.05) and light sleep length (p < 0.05). DO reported higher total PA time (min/week), MET/min/week spent in walking, and spent calories/week (p < 0.05). In SF-36 they reported higher score (p < 0.05) in general health, physical functioning, social functioning, pain, vitality, and emotional well-being. Body mass index (BMI) was significantly lower in the DO group (p < 0.01). The results suggest that dog ownership may affect the overall PA and health of older adults.

KEYWORDS:

dog ownership; health; older adults; physical activity

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