University of Illinois at Chicago
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Latinos Unique Scenario, Addressing Cognitive Impairment via Dance

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posted on 2016-10-21, 00:00 authored by Susan Aguiñaga
Older Latinos are disproportionately affected by chronic diseases and are at higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and related dementias compared to non-Latino whites. Given the high burden of chronic disease among older Latinos and its relationship to mild cognitive impairment (MCI), tackling chronic diseases via physical activity (PA) may help prevent or delay progression to AD. Unfortunately, most PA interventions targeting older adults exclude individuals with MCI, and there are even fewer PA interventions targeting underserved populations with MCI. Thus, the purpose of this study was to conduct a pilot, randomized controlled study to investigate the feasibility and impact of a Latin dance program on older Latinos with MCI. Spanish-speaking older Latinos [N=21, 75.4 ± 6.3 years old, 76.2% female, 22.4± 2.8 MMSE score], were randomized into a 16 week, twice-weekly dance intervention or to a wait-list control group; the wait-list control group crossed over at week 17 and received the dance intervention. Feasibility was determined by assessing reach, retention, adherence, dance logs, dance evaluations, and focus groups post-intervention. Participants were given a GT3X+ accelerometer and ActivPAL to wear for 7 consecutive days. Questionnaires assessing cognition, physical function, cardiorespiratory fitness, sedentary behavior, quality of life, and depression were administered. All data was collected at baseline, month 2, month 4, month 6, and month 8. Findings indicate that participants found the Latin dance program as an appealing, enjoyable, and safe mode of PA. The study also revealed modest effects on physical and cognitive function and warrants further research in the study of the impact on PA and sedentary behavior related outcomes. Researchers may consider recruiting older Latinos with MCI who are not attending an adult day service center in order to determine whether PA programs are efficacious among individuals who do not have access to these centers. Future dance studies should involve a larger randomized controlled trial and should continue to include underserved populations.



Marquez, David X.


Kinesiology and Nutrition

Degree Grantor

University of Illinois at Chicago

Degree Level

  • Doctoral

Committee Member

Wang, Edward Lamar, Melissa Hughes, Susan Odoms-Young, Angela

Submitted date



  • en

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