Sending your kids to a dance class may not compensate for their daily exercise requirements as experts have found that most youth dance classes provide only limited amounts of physical activity.
The study of 66 dance classes in the US showed that slightly more than one-third of class time, on average, was spent engaged in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity.
The remainder of class time was spent doing light activities such as standing, listening or stretching.
"This is a very commonly used opportunity for young people, especially girls, to be physically active and we find that they are inactive most of the time during dance classes," said senior author James Sallis, professor at the University of California, San Diego in the US. "We see this as a missed opportunity to make kids healthier," Sallis noted.
The US Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) physical activity guidelines call for children and adolescents (6-17 years) to engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. According to the Pediatrics study, participants recorded an average of 17 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per class, but the figure varied by age and dance type.
The researchers analyzed activity levels of girls aged five to 18 years participating in a variety of dance classes. Two hundred and sixty four girls from 66 dance classes participated in the study.
The findings were published online in the journal Pediatrics