Could after school dance increase activity levels for Year 7 girls?

Issue date: 18 April 2013

Generic image of dancers

Researchers led by principal investigator, Professor Russ Jago in the University of Bristol's School for Policy Studies have been awarded £743,000 of funding from the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR) to conduct a large evaluation of the potential of an after-school dance programme to increase the physical activity of Year 7 girls. Professor Jane Powell from UWE Bristol is collaborating on the research.

The Active7 randomised control trial (RCT) and economic evaluation is run in collaboration with the Bristol Randomised Trials Collaboration in the School of Social and Community Medicine and Jane Powell, Professor of Public Health Economics, Faculty of Health and Life Sciences, UWE Bristol.

The research is being conducted because many children do not do enough physical activity. Research has found that girls are less active than boys, and their activity levels reduce markedly when they enter secondary school. Dance is an activity that many girls enjoy and could be a really useful ways of helping girls to be active across the lifespan.

Professor Russ Jago said: “Dance has real potential for getting girls more active. It is an activity that appeals to many girls. Dance also entails a large amount of moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA).”

Eighteen schools will take part in the Active7 study. Nine schools will be chosen at random to receive an intervention consisting of an after-school dance programme. Schools that receive the programme will run a series of 40 after-school dance sessions (two per week, for 20 weeks, beginning in January 2014). The sessions will be delivered by professional dance teachers, paid for by the study. There will be no costs to participating schools.

This project was funded by the National Institute for Health Research Public Health Research (NIHR PHR) Programme (project number 11/3050/01). The views and opinions expressed therein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the NIHR PHR Programme or the Department of Health.

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