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.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2013 · Journal of obesity
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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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    Full-text · Article · Mar 2012 · BMC Public Health
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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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