Using dance to increase physical activity: A systematic review of interventions


Purpose: Reviews of physical activity interventions among children and adolescents span different settings of activity as well as types of activity. Dance may be one way to increase physical activity among youth. The goal of this study was to review physical activity interventions for youth using dance to understand both how dance is used as well as the outcomes of such interventions. Methods: Key databases (SportDiscus, PubMed, PsychInfo, CINAHL, and ERIC) were explored for studies using dance (in whole or part) as an intervention, published in English (peer-reviewed), between 2009-2014, and including an assessment of physical activity. Study quality was evaluated for included article. Relevant information was obtained from each included study. Results: Eight interventions (found in 10 papers) met the inclusion criteria. Study quality was 'weak' across all of the included studies. Different forms of dance were used across studies with many of the populations of youth being girls, overweight, and/or of an ethnic minority. The outcome (for physical activity) of the included interventions using dance was mixed. Conclusion: Dance is being used as a means to engage youth in physical activity. Study quality may be limiting what we know about the effectiveness of these interventions. Future studies should consider the appropriateness of dance interventions among other groups of children and adolescents including boys, those with disabilities, or cultural considerations.