November 12, 2015
2 min read

Bollywood dance program improves HbA1c for South Asian women with diabetes

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South Asian women with type 2 diabetes experienced a significant decrease in HbA1c and nonsignificant decrease in body weight after participating in an 8-week Bollywood dance program, according to research in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care.

“South Asians are four times as likely as other race/ethnic groups to have type 2 diabetes and there are currently over 50 million South Asians worldwide that have type 2 diabetes,” Latha Palaniappan, MD, MS, FAHA, FACC, FACP, a clinical professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine, told Endocrine Today. “Physical activity can improve glucose control as much as medication therapy in type 2 diabetes. Culturally appropriate forms of exercise are needed to improve uptake of physical activity, as the majority of people with type 2 diabetes do not exercise enough.”

Latha Palaniappan

Latha Palaniappan

Palaniappan, Alamelu Natesan, BA, of the University of California Berkeley School of Public Health, and colleagues analyzed data from 23 women with type 2 diabetes who were not using insulin living in the San Francisco area. The women were randomly assigned to an 8-week Bollywood dance program, including two 1-hour classes per week at an Indian community center (n = 12; mean HbA1c, 6.82%; 92% Indian) or to a “wait list” as controls, receiving usual care for 8 weeks (n = 11; mean HbA1c, 6.49%; 91% Indian). Researchers measured HbA1c, weight, height and blood pressure at baseline and 8 weeks; attendance was measured at each dance class.

At 8 weeks, the dance class group saw a mean 0.18% reduction in HbA1c (P = .018); the control group saw no change. Both the dance and control groups experienced weight loss at 8 weeks, with the dance group losing an average of 0.26 kg vs. an average loss of 0.09 kg for controls; however, results were not significant in either group.

Among the six participants who lost weight in the dance group, there was a mean decrease in HbA1c of 0.22%; the five participants in the control group who lost weight experienced a mean decrease of 0.06%.

“Participants who did not lose weight in the intervention group still experienced a reduction in mean HbA1c, while those in the control group did not,” the researchers wrote. “Furthermore, participants attending at least 10 sessions had a statistically significant reduction in weight compared with those attending fewer than 10 sessions.”

The researchers noted that, since the trial excluded insulin users, participants were likely earlier in their disease progression, when lifestyle change may have a greater impact on the Regina Schaffer

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.