Background: This study examined the prevalence of dog ownership and dog walking and its association with leisure-time walking among metropolitan and nonmetropolitan older adults. Methods: A telephone-based cross-sectional survey targeting Taiwanese older adults was conducted in November 2016. Data related to dog ownership, time spent dog walking (categorized as non-dog owner, non-dog walkers, and dog walkers), and sociodemographic variables were obtained from 1074 older adults. Adjusted binary logistic regression was then performed. Results: In this sample, 12% of Taiwanese older adults owned a dog and 31% of them walked their dogs for an average of 232.13 min over 5.9 days/week (standard deviation = 2.03). Older adults living in nonmetropolitan areas were more likely to own a dog (14.7% vs. 9.1%) but less likely to walk their dog (25.9% vs. 39.6%) than were those living in metropolitan areas. Compared with non-dog owners, only older adults living in nonmetropolitan areas who were dog walkers achieved 150 min of leisure-time walking (odds ratio: 3.03, 95% confidence interval: 1.05-8.77), after adjustment for potential confounders. Conclusion: Older Taiwanese adults living in nonmetropolitan areas who owned and walked their dogs were more likely to achieve health-enhancing levels of leisure-time walking. Tailored physical activity interventions for promoting dog walking should be developed for older adults who are dog owners living in nonmetropolitan areas and who do not engage in dog walking.
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