The PPET study: People and pets exercising together

Wellness Institute, Northwestern Memorial Hospital, 150 East Huron, Suite 1100, Chicago, IL 60611, USA.
Obesity (Impact Factor: 3.73). 11/2006; 14(10):1762-70. DOI: 10.1038/oby.2006.203
Source: PubMed


Obesity is a significant public health problem that is affecting people and their pets. The human-companion animal bond and the role of pets in providing social support provides a rationale framework for studying the effectiveness of a combined people and pets (PP) exercising together (PPET) weight loss program.
Thirty-six pairs of overweight or obese people with an obese pet (PP) and 56 overweight or obese people only (PO) participated in a 1-year prospective controlled weight loss study. In a group format, people received dietary and physical activity counseling, and dogs were fed a calorie-controlled prescription diet. Physical activity was recorded using the physical activity recall questionnaire.
Completion rates at 1 year were 61% for the PP group and 58% for the PO group. Mean weight losses at 12 months using last observation carried forward were 4.7% (PP) and 5.2% (PO). Mean weight loss among the dogs was 15%. Time spent in physical activity increased in both groups to 3.9 (PP) and 3.5 (PO) h/wk. Two-thirds of total physical activity in the PP group was spent with the dogs.
The PPET study is the first program to demonstrate the effectiveness of a combined PP weight loss program. This fresh approach to the dual obesity epidemic builds on the human-companion animal bond. Consideration of social support for weight loss of family members, friends, and coworkers should be extended to include pets.

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    • "The role that researchers considered the social constructs to play in obesity prevention was reflected in the placement of the construct along the intervention pathway. Two of the thirty studies reviewed featured social relational constructs (social networks [30] and social support [35]) as intervention targets. Of the studies which featured social support as the social relational construct, twelve of these operationalized social support as an ancillary resource with the remaining seven studies operationalizing social support as a channel. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background. Recent research has shown the importance of networks in the spread of obesity. Yet, the translation of research on social networks and obesity into health promotion practice has been slow. Objectives. To review the types of obesity interventions targeting social relational factors. Methods. Six databases were searched in January 2013. A Boolean search was employed with the following sets of terms: (1) social dimensions: social capital, cohesion, collective efficacy, support, social networks, or trust; (2) intervention type: intervention, experiment, program, trial, or policy; and (3) obesity in the title or abstract. Titles and abstracts were reviewed. Articles were included if they described an obesity intervention with the social relational component central. Articles were assessed on the social relational factor(s) addressed, social ecological level(s) targeted, the intervention's theoretical approach, and the conceptual placement of the social relational component in the intervention. Results. Database searches and final article screening yielded 30 articles. Findings suggested that (1) social support was most often targeted; (2) few interventions were beyond the individual level; (3) most interventions were framed on behaviour change theories; and (4) the social relational component tended to be conceptually ancillary to the intervention. Conclusions. Theoretically and practically, social networks remain marginal to current interventions addressing obesity.
    Journal of obesity 08/2013; 2013(7106):348249. DOI:10.1155/2013/348249
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    • "Dog ownership is so common that most children in western societies have at least potential access to dogs via extended families, friends, or neighbours. Dog-based interventions may also be helpful in special populations, in secondary prevention for example [29]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Objectively measured physical activity is low in British children, and declines as childhood progresses. Observational studies suggest that dog-walking might be a useful approach to physical activity promotion in children and adults, but there are no published public health interventions based on dog-walking with children. The Children, Parents, and Pets Exercising Together Study aims to develop and evaluate a theory driven, generalisable, family-based, dog walking intervention for 9-11 year olds. The Children, Parents, and Pets Exercising Together Study is an exploratory, assessor-blinded, randomised controlled trial as defined in the UK MRC Framework on the development and evaluation of complex interventions in public health. The trial will follow CONSORT guidance. Approximately 40 dog-owning families will be allocated randomly in a ratio of 1.5:1 to receive a simple behavioural intervention lasting for 10 weeks or to a 'waiting list' control group. The primary outcome is change in objectively measured child physical activity using Actigraph accelerometry. Secondary outcomes in the child, included in part to shape a future more definitive randomised controlled trial, are: total time spent sedentary and patterning of sedentary behaviour (Actigraph accelerometry); body composition and bone health from dual energy x-ray absorptiometry; body weight, height and BMI; and finally, health-related quality of life using the PedsQL. Secondary outcomes in parents and dogs are: changes in body weight; changes in Actigraph accelerometry measured physical activity and sedentary behaviour. Process evaluation will consist of assessment of simultaneous child, parent, and dog accelerometry data and brief interviews with participating families. The Children, Parents, and Pets Exercising Together trial should be the first randomised controlled study to establish and evaluate an intervention aimed at dog-based physical activity promotion in families. It should advance our understanding of whether and how to use pet dogs to promote physical activity and/or to reduce sedentary behaviour in children and adults. The trial is intended to lead to a subsequent more definitive randomised controlled trial, and the work should inform future dog-based public health interventions such as secondary prevention interventions in children or adults. ISRCTN85939423.
    BMC Public Health 03/2012; 12(1):208. DOI:10.1186/1471-2458-12-208 · 2.26 Impact Factor
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    • "Indeed, the changes to dog walking were robust enough to produce increases in total pedometry step-count and total self-reported walking. These pilot results support a sustained intervention research program targeting dog walking in order to increase physical activity and complement the currently limited intervention literature on this topic (Johnson and Meadows, 2010; Kushner et al., 2006; Serpell, 1991). "
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    ABSTRACT: The promotion of dog walking among owners who do not walk their dogs regularly may be a viable physical activity intervention aperture, yet research is very limited and no intervention studies have employed control groups. Therefore, the purpose of this pilot study was to examine the viability of dog walking for physical activity intervention using messages targeting canine exercise. Inactive dog owners (n=58) were randomized to either a standard control condition or the intervention (persuasive material about canine health from walking and a calendar to mark walks) after completing a baseline questionnaire package and wearing a pedometer for one week. Participants (standard condition n=28; intervention condition n=30) completed the six and 12 week follow-up questionnaire packages. Intention to treat analyses showed that both groups increased physical activity significantly across the 12 weeks (η(2)=0.09 to 0.21). The intervention group resulted in significantly higher step-counts compared to the control group (Δ 1823 steps) and showed significantly higher trajectories from baseline to 12 weeks in the self-reported physical activity measures (η(2)=0.11 to 0.27). The results are promising for the viability of increasing dog walking as a means for physical activity promotion and suggest that theoretical fidelity targeting canine exercise may be a helpful approach.
    Preventive Medicine 03/2012; 54(5):309-12. DOI:10.1016/j.ypmed.2012.02.014 · 3.09 Impact Factor
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