Childhood Obesity

Two research projects verify that Dancing Classrooms has a positive impact on some of the variables that lead to childhood obesity: 

1) Shirley Huang, MD., Weill Cornell Medical College, 2007
Physical Activity Levels of School-Age Children in a Ballroom Dancing Program.

Objective: to determine if Dancing Classrooms engages children in moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) at least 50% of class time.

• Descriptive/Prospective Study

• Random classes during first half and second half of  the program
• Physical Activity Assessments:
     o Subjective: System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time observation method
     o Objective: heart rate monitoring

• Dancing Classrooms does meet national recommendations of providing at least 50% of class time in MVPA
• Increasing time in MVPA is demonstrated as program progresses
• Dancing Classrooms may be an appropriate means for children to achieve MVPA.

2) Dr. Larry Nelson, UTA College of Education, Arlington, Texas 2008

Purpose: The childhood obesity epidemic is increasing throughout the nation at an alarming rate. Consequently, administrators and funders are paying special attention to the physical activity levels of children in physical education programs. Methodology: This study examines how different types of Dancing Classrooms activities (both individually and in aggregate) influence heart rate responses and time spent in, above, and below fifth graders’ target heart rate zones. Students in the study (N=200) were measured by wearing Polar E-600 heart rate watches to determine Dancing Classrooms impact on fitness and overall contribution to daily physical activity with the physiological accuracy of an electrocardiogram. 

Preliminary Findings: though the data has not yet been fully inputted and analyzed (as of November 2008), passive data entry findings at this point may suggest that all of the dances, except Waltz, will closely meet the minimum 55% of max heart rate exercise threshold that has become the standard in physical education research. Tango will likely exceed the other dances entering into a 65% max heart rate range, and Swing is likely to meet “vigorous” standards upwards of 75%. Specific conclusions and variations in data relationships are yet to be determined.