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Dance Improves Self-Rated Health for Teen Girls

Improvement persists for one year after intervention in girls with internalizing problems

TUESDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- For teenage girls with internalizing problems, a dance intervention can improve self-rated health scores, according to a study published online Nov. 12 in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.

Anna Duberg, R.P.T., from Örebro University in Sweden, and colleagues conducted a trial involving teenage girls (aged 13 to 18 years) with internalizing problems (stress and psychosomatic symptoms) to examine whether a dance intervention influenced self-rated health. Participants were randomized to a dance intervention (twice weekly classes for eight months; 59 girls) or a control group (53 girls).

The researchers found that, at all follow-ups (eight, 12, and 20 months from baseline), the dance intervention group improved their self-rated health more than the control group. The difference in mean change was 0.30, 0.62, and 0.40 at eight, 12, and 20 months, respectively. In the dance intervention group, the attendance rate for 67 percent of girls was 50 to 100 percent. Of the girls in the dance intervention, 91 percent rated it as a positive experience.

"This study points out the role of joyful social physical activity in influencing health," the authors write. "We conclude that an intervention with dance twice weekly for eight months is feasible and can improve self-rated health in adolescent girls with internalizing problems, even if the girls lacked previous experience in dancing."

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