Regular Latin dancing and health education may improve cognition of late middle-Aged and older Latinos

David X. Marquez, Robert Wilson, Susan Aguinaga, Priscilla Vásquez, Louis Fogg, Zhi Yang, Joellen Wilbur, Susan Hughes, Charles Spanbauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Disparities exist between Latinos and non-Latino Whites in cognitive function. Dance is culturally appropriate and challenges individuals physically and cognitively, yet the impact of regular dancing on cognitive function in older Latinos has not been examined. A two-group pilot trial was employed among inactive, older Latinos. Participants (N = 57) participated in the BAILAMOS dance program or a health education program. Cognitive test scores were converted to z-scores and measures of global cognition and specific domains (executive function, episodic memory, working memory) were derived. Results revealed a group × time interaction for episodic memory (p < .05), such that the dance group showed greater improvement in episodic memory than the health education group. A main effect for time for global cognition (p < .05) was also demonstrated, with participants in both groups improving. Structured Latin dance programs can positively influence episodic memory, and participation in structured programs may improve overall cognition among older Latinos.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)482-489
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Aging and Physical Activity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Arts
  • Dance
  • Health disparities
  • Latinos

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Rehabilitation
  • Gerontology
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology

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