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Purpose: The study aims were to determine: (a) how class structure varies by dance type, (b) how moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and sedentary behavior vary by dance class segments, and (c) how class structure relates to total MVPA in dance classes. Method: Participants were 291 boys and girls ages 5 to 18 years old enrolled in 58 dance classes at 21 dance studios in Southern California. MVPA and sedentary behavior were assessed with accelerometry, with data aggregated to 15-s epochs. Percent and minutes of MVPA and sedentary behavior during dance class segments and percent of class time and minutes spent in each segment were calculated using Freedson age-specific cut points. Differences in MVPA (Freedson 3 Metabolic Equivalents of Tasks age-specific cut points) and sedentary behavior ( < 100 counts/min) were examined using mixed-effects linear regression. Results: The length of each class segment was fairly consistent across dance types, with the exception that in ballet, more time was spent in technique as compared with private jazz/hip-hop classes and Latin-flamenco and less time was spent in routine/practice as compared with Latin-salsa/ballet folklorico. Segment type accounted for 17% of the variance in the proportion of the segment spent in MVPA. The proportion of the segment in MVPA was higher for routine/practice (44.2%) than for technique (34.7%). The proportion of the segment in sedentary behavior was lowest for routine/practice (22.8%). Conclusion: The structure of dance lessons can impact youths' physical activity. Working with instructors to increase time in routine/practice during dance classes could contribute to physical activity promotion in youth.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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