Dancing among older Latinos: Interweaving health and culture

David X. Marquez, Susan Aguiñaga, Priscilla G. Vásquez, Isabela G. Marques, Guilherme M. Balbim, Michelle Jaldin

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Physical activity (PA) has been linked to health across a multitude of mental and physical outcomes. Given that leisure time PA is mostly related to favorable health outcomes, strategies to increase leisure time PA among Latinos are warranted. Dance is a form of PA that can also be adjusted to different populations, ages and physical limitations, and is a main commonality across the large and diverse Latino population. To date, evidence on the health benefits of dance for older Latino adults are limited. This paper describes the development and health benefits, in traditional qualitative and quantitative studies, of a Latin dance program that aimed to increase PA, improve cognition, and build community in older Latino adults residing in a major US city. First, we present the formative work, followed by a short description of the BAILAMOS dance program. Subsequently, we briefly discuss the progression of trials with BAILAMOS as the intervention and the main results. It appears that regular Latin dancing can increase overall PA and influence aspects of physical and cognitive functioning. This finding highlights the importance of creating PA interventions that incorporate opinions and feedback from the community the intervention targets, are culturally relevant, that take place in older Latinos’ communities, and that are linguistically appropriate and led by bilingual and bicultural staff.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Art of Latina and Latino Elderhood
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783031190087
ISBN (Print)9783031190070
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences
  • General Arts and Humanities


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