Associations between Neighborhood Disadvantage and Dog Walking among Participants in the Dog Aging Project. Academic Article uri icon


  • Although neighborhood socioeconomic disadvantage is negatively related to overall physical activity, prior studies reveal a complex relationship between disadvantage and particular walking behaviors. While disadvantage is associated with reduced recreational walking through a hypothesized "fear-of-crime" mechanism, the built environment in disadvantaged neighborhoods may encourage utilitarian walking. To date, no study has assessed how disadvantage relates to dog walking, a distinct walking behavior that is neither strictly recreational nor utilitarian but represents a key mechanism through which pet ownership may affect human health. We employ a large (n = 19,732) dataset from the Dog Aging Project to understand how neighborhood disadvantage is associated with dog walking when controlling for individual-, household-, and environmental-level factors. We find that dog owners in more disadvantaged neighborhoods report less on-leash walking activity compared to owners in advantaged neighborhoods and discuss the possibility of a fear-of-crime mechanism underlying this association. These findings improve our understanding of the relationship between neighborhood disadvantage and physical function and highlight the need for public health interventions that encourage dog ownership to consider neighborhood disadvantage.

published proceedings

  • Int J Environ Res Public Health

author list (cited authors)

  • Collins, D., Lee, H., Dunbar, M. D., Crowder, K., & Dog Aging Project Consortium.

citation count

  • 0

complete list of authors

  • Collins, Devin||Lee, Hannah||Dunbar, Matthew D||Crowder, Kyle

publication date

  • September 2022