Program

Mar 17, 2009

OVERVIEW

Dance for Health is a school-based physical activity
program designed to prevent obesity in African American and Hispanic
adolescents. The program replaces typical physical education activities with
dance instruction sessions. In an evaluation of the program, seventh grade
classrooms were randomly assigned to either receive the Dance for Health program
during their regularly scheduled physical education classes or to a control
group that received physical education as usual. Results indicated that the
program led to significant decreases in heart rate and BMI; among females; the
program had no impacts on males.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population: African American and Hispanic
adolescents.

Dance for Health is a school-based physical activity
program that replaces regular student physical education classes. The program
is designed to prevent obesity by teaching adolescents how to incorporate dance
routines into their daily exercise regimens. Over the course of 12 weeks,
students attend three physical activity sessions, each lasting 50 minutes. The
students are able to choose music to which instructors teach them dance
routines. The program also includes a health education component, which is
implemented twice a week in a classroom setting. The health education classes
present curriculum on nutrition, exercise, obesity and unhealthy weight
regulation practices, smoking prevention, substance abuse, stress management,
and peer pressure.

The cost of implementing the program runs around $1,500.
This includes the cost of questionnaires, handouts, music materials, rewards,
and additional supplies.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

Flores, R. (1995). Dance for Health: Improving
fitness in African American and Hispanic adolescents. Public Health Reports,
110,
189-193.

Evaluated population: 81 adolescents attending
seventh grade classes in Palo Alto, California served as the sample for this
evaluation. The mean age of the adolescents was 12.6 years, and 54% of the
sample was female. The racial/ethnic breakdown of the sample was 43% Hispanic,
44% African American, and 13% classified as “other.”

Approach: Four seventh grade classes agreed to
participate in this efficacy trial study. Each classroom was randomly assigned
to either receive the Dance for Health intervention or to continue receiving
their regular physical education classes. Over a 12 week period, students in
classrooms receiving the Dance for Health intervention attended 3 program
sessions a week during their regularly scheduled physical education classes.
They also received two health education classes per week that addressed
nutrition and exercise, among other topics. Students in the control classrooms
received their regular physical education classes, which typically consisted of
playground activities. Researchers assessed students at baseline and following
the intervention using measures of heart rate, exercise efficiency, weight,
height, and attitudes towards physical activity.

Results: Results indicated that female adolescents
in the intervention condition experienced significantly greater decreases in BMI
and heart rate compared to females in the control condition. There were not
significant differences for females across groups on measures of exercise
efficiency and attitudes towards physical activity. The program had no
significant impacts on male participants.

Note: Although the researchers used a cluster sampling
procedure for this study, there is no evidence that statistical corrections were
made to account for the use of cluster-methods. Results from this study should
be interpreted with caution.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References:

Flores, R. (1995). Dance for Health: Improving fitness in
African American and Hispanic adolescents. Public Health Reports, 110,
189-193.

KEYWORDS: Adolescence (12-17), School-based, Adolescents
(12-17), Middle School, Overweight, Black or African American, Hispanic or
Latino, cost, co-ed.

Program information last updated on 3/17/09.

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