JOURNAL ARTICLE

The PPET Study: people and pets exercising together

Robert F Kushner, Dawn Jackson Blatner, Dennis E Jewell, Kimberly Rudloff
Obesity 2006, 14 (10): 1762-70
17062806

OBJECTIVE: 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.

RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: 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.

RESULTS: 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.

DISCUSSION: 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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