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    Research Letter
    March 6, 2019

    Fractures in Elderly Americans Associated With Walking Leashed Dogs

    Author Affiliations
    • 1Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    • 2Hatboro-Horsham High School, Horsham, Pennsylvania
    • 3Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia
    JAMA Surg. 2019;154(5):458-459. doi:10.1001/jamasurg.2019.0061

    Dog walking is often suggested as an effective modality for improving physical health in elderly Americans.1 Nonetheless, injury risks associated with dog walking remain obscure. Considering that older patients are more vulnerable to fractures owing to falls or axial muscle compression forces inherent to walking motions, a risk-benefit analysis with respect to dog walking as an exercise alternative is essential to minimizing injury risk.2 This study represents a comprehensive, up-to-date investigation into fracture risk in older adults who use leashes when walking dogs.

    A retrospective, cross-sectional analysis was performed using the publicly available deidentified National Electronic Injury Surveillance System database of the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, which records product- or activity-related injuries in patients presenting to approximately 100 US hospital emergency departments stratified by size and location. This nationally representative, statistically validated probability sample can be used to derive reliable weighted national estimates and sampling errors for queried injuries.3 Data were acquired from a deidentified, publicly available database. According to the University of Pennsylvania IRB Standard Operating Procedures, institutional review board approval is waived in cases where data are redacted and openly publicly available.

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