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The Health-Related Benefits of Dog-Ownership in Hong Kong



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The Health-Related Benefits of Dog-Ownership in Hong Kong by Lok-Yan Chow
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This dissertation, "The Health-related Benefits of Dog-ownership in Hong Kong" by Lok-yan, Chow, 周樂欣, was obtained from The University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong) and is being sold pursuant to Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License. The content of this dissertation has not been altered in any way. We have altered the formatting in order to facilitate the ease of printing and reading of the dissertation. All rights not granted by the above license are retained by the author. Abstract: Background: Numerous studies have found that there are many health-related benefits to owning a dog, however, this has not been investigated in a high dense Asian environment where the culture is very different to Western countries. Objectives: This study aimed at investigating 1) if dog-owners are more active than those who do not own a dog; 2) if dog-owners have higher perceived physical and mental health status compared to a sample of the population who do not own a dog; 3) are there social/environmental factors measured by the Dogs-and-Physical Activity (DAPA) tool that are associated with the perceived physical and mental health as well as physical activity (PA) habits of dog owners. Methods: A total of 102 Chinese dog-owners resident in Hong Kong were recruited to examine what factors might affect dog-owners to walk their dog regularly and hence likely to take part in more daily PA. All of these dog-owners were invited to complete a questionnaire that combined the DAPA-tool, Short-Form-12 health survey (SF-12), and the International-Physical-Activity-Questionnaire - short (IPAQ-short) and to wear an accelerometer for a week. Of the 102 recruited dog-owners, 52 had analysable SF-12 and accelerometry data that could be compared with similar data from 47 HK Chinese who did not own dogs. Linear regression was used to analyse differences between dog-owners and non-dog-owners and to examine social/environmental factors that contributed to physical component score (PCS) and mental component score (MCS) and accrued PA of the dog-owners; their living status, gender, age, Body Mass Index (BMI), income, education level and work status were adjusted during the analysis. Result: Compared to those without dogs, dog-owners were found to have higher PCS scores (P"Owning a dog adds to my happiness" was associated with having higher PCS (P=0.04); whilst "Trees and shrubs for dogs to sniff" (P=0.02), "Sitting areas with benches" (P=0.06) and "My enjoyment of being outdoors" (P=0.01) were positively related to MVPA as measured by IPAQ, whilst "My dog would be unfriendly or difficult to control" (P=0.02) was negatively related to IPAQ MVPA. Furthermore, "Signs to say if dogs are permitted" (P=0.03), "Trees and shrubs for dogs to sniff" (P=0.02), "The fact that I feel safe when walking with my dog" (P=0.02) and "It would keep my dog healthy" (P=0.04) were found to be positively related to OVPA as measure by IPAQ, whilst "My family commitments" (P=0.03) and "It would stop me feeling guilty" (P=0.03) were found to be negative related to IPAQ OVPA. No variables were significantly related to MCS among the dog-owners. Conclusion: Dog-ownership is associated with Hong Kong owners having a more active lifestyle and is related to higher perceived physical, but not mental health. A small number of social and physical factors appear important in providing a supportive environment that can help enhance the health benefits of dog-ownership. DOI: 10.5353/th_b4833015 Subjects: Dog owners - Health and hygiene - China - Hong KongDog owners - Mental health - China - Hong KongDog walking
Release date NZ
January 26th, 2017
Created by
Country of Publication
United States
colour illustrations
Open Dissertation Press
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