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  • Author: Mathew J. Reeves x
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Mathew J. Reeves, Ann P. Rafferty, Corinne E. Miller and Sarah K. Lyon-Callo

Background:

The extent to which dog walking promotes leisure-time physical activity (LTPA) remains unresolved. We describe the characteristics of people who walk their dog, and assess the impact on LTPA.

Methods:

Information on dog ownership, dog walking patterns, total walking activity and LTPA were assessed in the 2005 Michigan Behavioral Risk Factor Survey. Multiple logistic regression was used to generate adjusted odds ratios (AOR) for the effect of dog walking on total walking and LTPA.

Results:

Of 5902 respondents 41% owned a dog, and of these, 61% walked their dog for at least 10 minutes at a time. However, only 27% walked their dog at least 150 minutes per week. Dog walking was associated with a significant increase in walking activity and LTPA. Compared with non-dog owners, the odds of obtaining at least 150 minutes per week of total walking were 34% higher for dog walkers (AOR = 1.34, 95% CI = 1.13 to 1.59), and the odds of doing any LTPA were 69% higher (AOR = 1.69, 95% CI = 1.33 to 2.15).

Conclusions:

Dog walking was associated with more walking and LTPA, however a substantial proportion of dog owners do not walk their dog. The promotion of dog walking could help increase LTPA.

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Heather Hayes Betz, Joey C. Eisenmann, Kelly R. Laurson, Katrina D. DuBose, Mathew J. Reeves, Joseph J. Carlson and Karin A. Pfeiffer

Purpose: The objective of this study was to examine the independent and combined association of physical activity and body mass index (BMI) with blood pressure in youth. Methods: Youth aged 8–18 years from the 2003–2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) with BMI, blood pressure, and physical activity (accelerometer) were included in the analyses. A total of 2585 subjects (1303 males; 47% of all 8- to 18-year-olds) met these criteria. Results: Obese youth had a systolic blood pressure that was 8 mm Hg higher than normal weight youth. A significant interaction between BMI and physical activity on blood pressure was found (P < .001), and group differences among the BMI/activity groups showed that the 3 obese groups and the overweight/least active group had significantly higher systolic blood pressure than the normal weight/active group across all analyses. The overweight/least active and normal weight/least active groups had significantly higher diastolic blood pressure than the normal weight/active group as well. Conclusions: This study showed a significant independent and combined association of BMI and physical activity with blood pressure in youth. Interventions need to focus on the reduction of fatness/BMI as a way to reduce the cardiovascular risk in youth.