Exploring objective approaches to measuring human physical activity in human-animal interaction research

Ellis, Sarah, Dall, P. M., Ellis, B. , Granat, M. and Grant, M. (2013) Exploring objective approaches to measuring human physical activity in human-animal interaction research. In: 2013 Triennial International Conference of the International Association of Human-Animal Organization, 20-22 July2013, Chicago, U.S.A..

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Item Type:Conference or Workshop contribution (Poster)
Item Status:Live Archive


A dog owner (female, 37 years) wore an activPALTM monitor [2] for 7 days, and completed a diary reporting timing of walking outdoors (with/without the dog). ActivPALTM monitors classify acceleration into periods of sitting, standing or walking allowing outcome measures relating to the quantity, quality and patterning of PA, e.g. walking at a pace suitable for health. Walking events (continuous periods of walking) were coded into activity categories based on diary information. Duration of walking, number of steps, and mean cadence of walking events were compared across categories.

On average the participant walked 2.3 hours/day, taking 12,118 steps/day, and walked the dog once/day. Mean walking event duration (72 vs. 33 s) and steps taken (127 vs. 54) were consistently higher when walking outdoors with the dog than without the dog. Cadence, however, was only marginally higher during dog walking (87 vs. 82 steps/min).

Clear differences were demonstrated in the accumulation of outdoor walking with and without the dog. This level of detail in the pattern of walking allows interpretation of whether the walking could be health enhancing. Furthermore, this methodology will allow differences in health enhancing PA between dog owners and non-dog owners to be investigated in future studies.

[1] Christian HE, Westgarth C, Bauman A, Richards EA, Rhodes R, Evenson KR, Mayer JA, Thorpe RJ Jr. Dog ownership and physical activity: a review of the evidence. Journal of Physical Activity and Health, In Press

[2] Grant PM, Dall PM, Mitchell SL, Granat MH. Activity monitor accuracy in measuring step number and cadence in community-dwelling older adults. Journal of Aging and Physical Activity 2008; 16(2):201-14.

Keywords:Human-Animal Interaction, Physical Activity, Dog Ownership
Subjects:B Subjects allied to Medicine > B990 Subjects Allied to Medicine not elsewhere classified
L Social studies > L510 Health & Welfare
D Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects > D990 Veterinary Sciences, Agriculture and related subjects not elsewhere classified
Divisions:College of Science > School of Life Sciences
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ID Code:11586
Deposited On:02 Aug 2013 14:39

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