Participating in regular physical activity, such as modern dance, may help young adults achieve a healthier distribution of body fat, according to research presented at the annual meeting of the American College of Sports Medicine.
“There was no difference in weight between dancers and the control subjects,” said Karlie Friesen of Oregon State University, lead author of the study. “However, a dancer’s abdominal fat, on average, was lower than that of a non-dancer, even when the two had the same volume of total fat.”
Researchers recruited 31 female dance students aged between 18 and 25 and compared them with 30 age-matched control subjects.
Fat distribution was assessed by whole-body DXA scans and calorific intake was measured by studying food consumption over a 3 day period.
The data were collected as part of a larger study investigating bone density and body composition in collegiate modern dancers.
“The association between greater deposition of fat in the abdominal area and increased disease risk is well-established,” said Friesen.
“What we don’t know is if exercise specifically lessens the amount of fat we store in that area. We found that modern dancers did exhibit a healthier pattern of body fat distribution than their peers who were sedentary to moderately active.
This finding warrants further investigation into the mechanism behind changing fat distribution patterns as a result of dance training and high-intensity exercise in females.”