BAILA: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Latin Dancing to Increase Physical Activity in Spanish-Speaking Older Latinos

David X Marquez, Joellen Wilbur, Susan Hughes, Robert Wilson, David M Buchner, Michael L Berbaum, Edward Mcauley, Susan Aguiñaga, Guilherme M Balbim, Priscilla M Vásquez, Isabela G Marques, Tianxiu Wang, Navin Kaushal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Latinos are the fastest growing minority group of the older adult population. Although physical activity (PA) has documented health benefits, older Latinos are less likely to engage in leisure time PA than older non-Latino whites. Dance, popular among Latinos, holds promise as a culturally relevant form of PA.

Purpose. To describe self-reported and device-assessed changes in PA as a result of a randomized controlled trial of BAILAMOS, a 4-month Latin dance program with a 4-month maintenance program, versus a health education control group.

Methods. Adults, aged 55+, Latino/Hispanic, Spanish speaking, with low PA levels at baseline, and risk for disability were randomized to the dance program (n = 167) or health education condition (n = 166). Data were analyzed using multilevel modeling with full information maximum likelihood.

Results. A series of multilevel models revealed significant time × group interaction effects for moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA), dance PA, leisure PA, and total PA. Exploring the interaction revealed the dance group to significantly increase their MVPA, dance PA, leisure PA, and total PA at months 4 and 8. Household PA and activity counts from accelerometry data did not demonstrate significant interaction effects.

Conclusions. The study supports organized Latin dance programs to be efficacious in promoting self-reported PA among older Latinos. Efforts are needed to make dancing programs available and accessible, and to find ways for older Latinos to add more PA to their daily lives.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberkaac009
Pages (from-to)1231-1243
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number12
Early online dateApr 21 2022
StatePublished - Dec 2022


  • Physical activity
  • Older adults
  • Aging
  • Hispanic
  • Latin dance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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