Brief Report| Volume 50, ISSUE 6, P756-760, June 2016

Dancing Participation and Cardiovascular Disease Mortality

A Pooled Analysis of 11 Population-Based British Cohorts
  • Dafna Merom
    Address correspondence to: Dafna Merom, PhD, School of Science and Health, University of Western Sydney, Locked Bag 1797, Penrith New South Wales 2751, Australia
    School of Science and Health, Western Sydney University, Sydney, Australia

    Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • Ding Ding
    Prevention Research Collaboration, School of Public Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
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  • Emmanuel Stamatakis
    Charles Perkins Centre, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Exercise and Sport Sciences, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia

    Physical Activity Research Group, Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London, London, United Kingdom
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Published:February 29, 2016DOI:


      Little is known about whether cardiovascular benefits vary by activity type. Dance is a multidimensional physical activity of psychosocial nature. The study aimed to examine the association between dancing and cardiovascular disease mortality.


      A cohort study pooled 11 independent population surveys in the United Kingdom from 1995 to 2007, analyzed in 2014. Participants were 48,390 adults aged ≥40 years who were free of cardiovascular disease at baseline and consented to be linked to the National Death Registry. Respondents reported participation in light- or moderate-intensity dancing and walking in the past 4 weeks. Physical activity amount was calculated based on frequency, duration, and intensity of participation in various types of exercise. The main outcome was cardiovascular disease mortality based on ICD-9 codes 390−459 or ICD-10 codes I01−I99.


      During 444,045 person-years, 1,714 deaths caused by cardiovascular disease were documented. Moderate-intensity, but not light-intensity, dancing and walking were both inversely associated with cardiovascular disease mortality. In Cox regression models, the hazard ratios for cardiovascular disease mortality, adjusted for age, sex, SES, smoking, alcohol, BMI, chronic illness, psychosocial distress, and total physical activity amount, were 0.54 (95% CI=0.34, 0.87) for moderate-intensity dancing and 0.67 (95% CI=0.52, 0.87) for moderate-intensity walking.


      Moderate-intensity dancing was associated with a reduced risk for cardiovascular disease mortality to a greater extent than walking. The association between dance and cardiovascular disease mortality may be explained by high-intensity bouts during dancing, lifelong adherence, or psychosocial benefits.
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