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Ethn Dis. 2014 Winter;24(1):104-9.

Prenatal dog-keeping practices vary by race: speculations on implications for disparities in childhood health and disease.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

There is consistent evidence demonstrating that pet-keeping, particularly of dogs, is beneficial to human health. We explored relationships between maternal race and prenatal dog-keeping, accounting for measures of socioeconomic status that could affect the choice of owning a pet, in a demographically diverse, unselected birth cohort.

DESIGN:

Self-reported data on mothers' race, socioeconomic characteristics and dog-keeping practices were obtained during prenatal interviews and analyzed cross-sectionally. Robust methods of covariate balancing via propensity score analysis were utilized to examine if race (Black vs White), independent of other participant traits, influenced prenatal dog-keeping.

SETTING:

A birth cohort study conducted in a health care system in metropolitan Detroit, Michigan between September 2003 and November 2007.

PARTICIPANTS:

1065 pregnant women (n=775 or 72.8% Black), between ages 21 and 45, receiving prenatal care.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Participant's self-report of race/ethnicity and prenatal dog-keeping, which was defined as her owning or caring for > or =1 dog for more than 1 week at her home since learning of her pregnancy, regardless of whether the dog was kept inside or outside of her home.

RESULTS:

In total, 294 women (27.6%) reported prenatal dog-keeping. Prenatal dog-keeping was significantly lower among Black women as compared to White women (20.9% vs 45.5%, P<.001), and remained significantly different even after propensity score analysis was applied.

CONCLUSION:

Findings suggest that there are persistent racial differences in dog-keeping not fully explained by measures of socioeconomic status. Racial differences in prenatal dog-keeping may contribute to childhood health disparities.

PMID:
24620456
PMCID:
PMC3978783
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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