Dog Ownership and Physical Activity Among Adolescents Enrolled in BodyWorks


Project Description

This project is a feasibility, acceptability, and pilot study that leverages the psychosocial benefits of informed and attached dog ownership among treatment-naïve overweight or obese adolescents. We draw upon a socioecological model of health behavior that pursues multiple levels of influence, including those extending across species lines such as physical activity. We utilize BodyWorks, a Comprehensive Behavioral Family Lifestyle Interventions (CBFLI), a national, empirically validated, curriculum-based 7-week program offered at Children's Hospital Los Angeles and AltaMed General Pediatrics, a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center. This project represents a significant methodological and theoretical advancement in the field of Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) and in research on overweight and obesity.


The purpose of the study is to find out if increased health literacy will increase from participating in BodyWorks (a comprehensive behavioral family lifestyle intervention (CBFLI)) helps to increase physical activity.

We will study the adolescents' and their parents' physical activity levels, and how the adolescents feel during physical activity depending on who is with them. The data from this research will be used to determine whether or not the use of physical activity trackers in dog-owning families increases adolescents' physical activity.

Up to 208 (104 parents and 104 kids) people will be invited to join the study at CHLA. Participation in this study is completely voluntary. 


Interested? Join today!

NICHD flyer screengrab

Additional Information

Funding: This research is supported by a grant awarded to Children’s Hospital Los Angeles from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD R21HD097761).

Project Duration: 2020-2024