TODAY'S QUESTION: Can ballroom dance help fight obesity?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010 | 12:01 a.m. CST; updated 2:32 p.m. CDT, Thursday, April 7, 2011

Rep. Tim Flook, R-Liberty, has written a bill that would allow Missouri public school students to take ballroom dancing as a replacement for physical education or fine arts.

The goal of a ballroom dance class would be to provide students who aren’t interested in P.E. another option to meet the physical education requirement.

While Flook looks to pass the bill, the rate of overweight children continues to rise.

A study released by the Centers for Disease and Prevention in January stated that the rate of overweight children rose from 19.6 percent to 26.5 percent for boys and 20.2 percent to 26.7 percent for girls from 1997 to 2007. Also, the obesity rate during this time period was fairly consistent at about 10 percent for infants and toddlers and 18 percent for adolescents and teens.

In a study released last summer that compared to children who weren’t overweight, MU researchers found overweight children from kindergarten through third grade displayed more depression, anxiety and loneliness that worsened over time.

Flook’s bill already has an example of the program that would run if the bill passes.

In 2006, Will Adams and Paula Marie Daub, William Jewell College dance instructors, started teaching dance class in Kansas City-area school districts. This pilot project led to Culture Through Ballroom Dance, a nonprofit organization that offers dance instruction to dancers of all ages.

Does ballroom dancing give kids the type of physical exercise they need to battle obesity? For that matter, does your typical physical education class?

Like what you see here? Become a member.

Show Me the Errors (What's this?)

Report corrections or additions here. Leave comments below here.

You must be logged in to participate in the Show Me the Errors contest.


Ray Shapiro February 10, 2010 | 11:50 a.m.

Some history on the President's Council on Physical Fitness:
As my college degree is in Education, with a high concentration minor in Health Education, I'd like to share my perspective on this question.
It is the learning and the ability to follow good health education principles, activities and choices which impact one's quality of life. Being "physically fit" is a combination of healthy choices, genetics, environmental factors and destiny.
Dancing, is a calorie burner. There are many other ways to burn calories which helps minimize obesity.
Of course, physical activity alone will not be enough to minimize obesity.
What we eat, when we eat and how we eat will impact obesity. Are children being taught, along with their parent(s) the value of healthy eating? Are we willing to say "no" to rewarding good behavior with bad food choices, which are sugar-laden with chemical additives?
(Eat a healthy meal with a twinkie for dessert washed down with Sunny D or a Mountain Dew?)
When I taught school, I danced with my kindergartners and gave snacks of milk, real, 100% non "cocktail" juice and carrot sticks and occasional crackers.

If I had a gym class, with older youths, we'd do an exercise routine, shoot hoops, play volley ball etc.

If we participate in good health education programs coupled with regular good workouts, the obesity problem should diminish.

Dance, by itself, is not enough.
And no one lives forever.

(Report Comment)

Leave a comment

Speak up and join the conversation! Make sure to follow the guidelines outlined below and register with our site. You must be logged in to comment. (Our full comment policy is here.)

  • Don't use obscene, profane or vulgar language.
  • Don't use language that makes personal attacks on fellow commenters or discriminates based on race, religion, gender or ethnicity.
  • Use your real first and last name when registering on the website. It will be published with every comment. (Read why we ask for that here.)
  • Don’t solicit or promote businesses.

We are not able to monitor every comment that comes through. If you see something objectionable, please click the "Report comment" link.

You must be logged in to comment.

Forget your password?

Don't have an account? Register here.