Study looks at impact of Bhangra on South Asian women's health

July 4, 2014, Simon Fraser University
Women participating in an SFU bhangra dance study to determine the role of exercise on body fat and heart health.

Simon Fraser University researchers are studying the impact of Bhangra dance and standard exercise programs on the health of post-menopausal South Asian women.

To date 50 women have completed or are currently completing sessions and researchers are looking for more women to participate. The majority of participants are long-term, stay-home moms and housewives recruited from the Surrey community.

SFU PhD candidate Iris Lesser says the South Asian Exercise Trial (SAET) is focusing on how exercise affects body fat and . Women who have completed the program say it is also having mentally positive effects.

Lesser is hoping to draw another 15 women participants to join the last of three 12-week sessions, starting in mid-August and taking place at the North Surrey Recreation Centre, a partner on the SFU study. The women need to be inactive, without diabetes or heart disease, and with a waist size greater than 80 cm.

Fitness instructor Mandeep Patrola leads the women through 60-minute sessions three times a week. "The women are providing key data for the SFU study, and learning that while exercise is important, it can also be fun," she says. "I'm already seeing a difference in these ."

The study is one of several underway by SFU's Community Health Research Team (CoHeaRT). Researchers in sciences, kinesiology and geography are studying population health and associated determinants of obesity, heart disease and other chronic diseases, while working to develop community-based solutions to improving disease management.

Lesser says low engagement in physical activity among South Asians has been shown to explain the more than 20 per cent of the excess deaths within the population.

Inner abdominal fat, which surrounds the abdominal organs, is associated with higher health risks and has been found to be greater as an amount of total body fat in South Asians.

"Exercise can benefit the community and have great impact through improved health as well as increased social connectedness," Lesser adds. "The South Asian community is growing and yet it is lacking the specialized cultural focus that would allow physical activity to become an integral part of one's lifestyle."

Explore further: South Asian people like to exercise in social groups, study finds

More information: Study results from the SAET are expected by the year's end. To participate in the final study session contact Lesser at 778.782.7748; iris.lesser@sfu.ca.

Related Stories

South Asian people like to exercise in social groups, study finds

October 11, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—A study by Stirling's Dr Ruth Jepson has determined that South Asian people in the UK will be more likely to exercise if it can be done as part of a group and has a social element.

Perth women manage gestational diabetes with exercise

March 28, 2014
Pregnant women diagnosed with gestational diabetes mellitus (GDM) are better able to manage the condition and symptoms with home-based exercise.

Inactivity 'biggest factor' in women's heart risk

May 28, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—Lack of exercise is a greater risk for heart disease in women over 30 than smoking, obesity and high blood pressure, University of Queensland researchers have found.

Study finds free fitness center-based exercise referral program not well utilized

May 14, 2014
Eliminating financial barriers to a fitness center as well as providing physician support, a pleasant environment and trained fitness staff did not result in widespread membership activation or consistent attendance among ...

Nearly half of the South Australian population not meeting recommended exercise guidelines

February 24, 2014
Despite the knowledge that physical activity is crucial to good health, nearly half of the South Australian population are not meeting recommended guidelines of at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five days ...

Lack of exercise adds to women's healthcare costs

April 7, 2014
(Medical Xpress)—A lack of exercise is costing the Australian healthcare system $40 million a year for women alone, according to new research from The University of Queensland (UQ).

Recommended for you

Americans are getting more sleep

January 19, 2018
Although more than one in three Americans still don't get enough sleep, a new analysis shows first signs of success in the fight for more shut eye. According to data from 181,335 respondents aged 15 and older who participated ...

Wine is good for you—to a point

January 18, 2018
The Mediterranean diet has become synonymous with healthy eating, but there's one thing in it that stands out: It's cool to drink wine.

Sleep better, lose weight?

January 17, 2018
(HealthDay)—Sleeplessness could cost you when it's time to stand on your bathroom scale, a new British study suggests.

Who uses phone apps to track sleep habits? Mostly the healthy and wealthy in US

January 16, 2018
The profile of most Americans who use popular mobile phone apps that track sleep habits is that they are relatively affluent, claim to eat well, and say they are in good health, even if some of them tend to smoke.

Improvements in mortality rates are slowed by rise in obesity in the United States

January 15, 2018
With countless medical advances and efforts to curb smoking, one might expect that life expectancy in the United States would improve. Yet according to recent studies, there's been a reduction in the rate of improvement in ...

Can muesli help against arthritis?

January 15, 2018
It is well known that healthy eating increases a general sense of wellbeing. Researchers at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) have now discovered that a fibre-rich diet can have a positive influence ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.