Title

Dog PAWS - Tools for Exploring the Relationship Between Dog-Walking and Engagement in Physical Activity

Start Time

16-10-2009 3:30 PM

End Time

16-10-2009 5:00 PM

Abstract

The Dog-owner Physical Activity and Walking Survey (Dog PAWS) and Focus Group Protocol were developed and pilot tested as part of a research project exploring the relationship between dog-walking and engagement in physical activity occupations. A descriptive mixed-methods research design piloting a focus group/structured question protocol and short survey was employed with a sample of community-dwelling older adults. This method was appropriate for a newly developed research project line because it allowed for initial qualitative and quantitative data collection, as the study sought to describe both perceptions (qualitative) and behavioral (quantitative) information. Data was collected at a local pet store and from University faculty and staff. Results of this study, while limited by small sample size, supported previous findings and indicated that engagement in dog-walking may promote increased participation in physical activity occupations as well as other health promoting benefits in communitydwelling older adults. With the increased emphasis on health promotion and community intervention outlined in Healthy People 2010 and the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Occupational Therapy Services in the Promotion of Health and the Prevention of Disease and Disability, the study of health-promoting occupations is timely and necessary. This project addressed issues related to occupational participation as a preventative health strategy, and can be used to suggest methods of supporting the incorporation of dog-walking interventions into everyday life and public policy. As 39% of all U.S. households include at least one dog, the topic of dog-walking as an occupation is particularly relevant for study by occupational scientists within the United States and other countries with similar statistics. Evidence that supports policies to promote engagement in dog-walking for physical activity has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of community-dwelling individuals and families. Occupational scientists can explore and describe the nature of dog-walking as an occupation and the physical activity benefits of the dog-human relationship. This in turn may contribute to society’s recognition and policy changes supporting dog-walking as an occupation to promote physical activity and well-being.

References

Ham, S. A., & Epping, J. (2006). Dog-walking and physical activity in the United States. Preventing Chronic Disease, 3(2), 1-7. Access Article

Kahn, E. B., Ramsey, L. T., Brownson, R. C., Heath, G. W., Howze, E. H., Powell, K. E., Stone, E. J., Rajab, M. W., Corso, P., and the Task Force on Community Preventive Services. (2002). The Effectiveness of interventions to increase physical activity: A Systematic review. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 22(4S), 73-107. Article Access

Scaffa, M. E., Van Slyke, N., & Brownson, C.A. (2008). Occupational Therapy Services in the Promotion of Health and the Prevention of Disease and Disability. American Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62(6), 694-703. DOI: 10.5014/ajot.62.6.694

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2001). Healthy People 2010: National health promotion and disease prevention objectives. Washington, DC: U.S. Government Printing Office.

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Oct 16th, 3:30 PM Oct 16th, 5:00 PM

Dog PAWS - Tools for Exploring the Relationship Between Dog-Walking and Engagement in Physical Activity

The Dog-owner Physical Activity and Walking Survey (Dog PAWS) and Focus Group Protocol were developed and pilot tested as part of a research project exploring the relationship between dog-walking and engagement in physical activity occupations. A descriptive mixed-methods research design piloting a focus group/structured question protocol and short survey was employed with a sample of community-dwelling older adults. This method was appropriate for a newly developed research project line because it allowed for initial qualitative and quantitative data collection, as the study sought to describe both perceptions (qualitative) and behavioral (quantitative) information. Data was collected at a local pet store and from University faculty and staff. Results of this study, while limited by small sample size, supported previous findings and indicated that engagement in dog-walking may promote increased participation in physical activity occupations as well as other health promoting benefits in communitydwelling older adults. With the increased emphasis on health promotion and community intervention outlined in Healthy People 2010 and the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Occupational Therapy Services in the Promotion of Health and the Prevention of Disease and Disability, the study of health-promoting occupations is timely and necessary. This project addressed issues related to occupational participation as a preventative health strategy, and can be used to suggest methods of supporting the incorporation of dog-walking interventions into everyday life and public policy. As 39% of all U.S. households include at least one dog, the topic of dog-walking as an occupation is particularly relevant for study by occupational scientists within the United States and other countries with similar statistics. Evidence that supports policies to promote engagement in dog-walking for physical activity has the potential to make a tremendous impact on the health and well-being of community-dwelling individuals and families. Occupational scientists can explore and describe the nature of dog-walking as an occupation and the physical activity benefits of the dog-human relationship. This in turn may contribute to society’s recognition and policy changes supporting dog-walking as an occupation to promote physical activity and well-being.