Art, Music, DanceElderly

Culturally specific dance to reduce obesity

This study was conducted in African-American women by researchers at Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, Ohio.

First, the details.

  • A community partnership was formed with 2 African American churches to address the issue of obesity.
  • Participants were assigned to a treatment group for 8 weeks.
    • The culturally specific dance classes twice weekly.
    • Control
  • Classes were choreographed to gospel music selected by the participants, and taught by an African American woman.
  • Body fat and BMI were measured 3 times.

And, the results.

  • Body fat and BMI revealed significant differences between the groups.
  • Attending at least 7 classes was enough to show a response.

The bottom line?

The authors concluded, “This community partnership was an effective way to promote a church-based, culturally specific dance intervention to improve the health of African American women.”

Taping into ethnicity seems to be an effective way to engage people in healthy activities.

For example, Researchers at Aristotle University, in Thessaloniki, Greece, studied the effect of Greek traditional dances on quality of life. They reported “physical and mental benefits for elderly individuals.”

8/6/10 12:06 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.