Using Hip-Hop As a Tool Against Obesity
Remember when on American Bandstand boys and girls in mid-puberty used to rate new releases by the rock and roll performers of the time on a scale of one to ten? Young ladies with shiny braces would smile for the camera while young men with slicked back hair struggled to keep their voices from cracking.
The higher-graded songs always seemed to be accompanied by the explanation that they could be danced to. Dancing was important. Perhaps you don’t remember any of this at all, or are too young to have ever seen it. Whatever the case, dancing remains important.
It has been around for quite a while, and was first used as a ritual that evolved over time. There is the tango, breakdancing, ballet, the cha cha, disco, the foxtrot, hula, the waltz, swing, polka, rumba, mambo, and come-on-baby-let’s-do-the-twist to name but a few. Simply put, people like to dance. It is fun.
Dancing also is a good way to shed pounds and keep fit.
Dancing As Exercise
Dancing is a great exercise tool. Not only does it promote good physical health and help to lose weight if needed, but some research suggests it improves memory, can help decrease the possibility of dementia, and revive memories in Alzheimer’s patients.
As an exercise it strengthens bones and muscles, improves posture and balance, increases stamina and flexibility, reduces stress and tension, and helps in the prevention of illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, osteoporosis, and depression.
Let’s Move Campaign
The anti-obesity nonprofit group, Partnership for a Healthier America in partnership with Hip Hop Public Health, has released a 19-track album in conjunction with Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. Most of the album cuts are hip-hop. It is hoped that 10 of the 19 songs will be made into videos.
The plan is to then distribute these videos to schools across the nation, beginning with 40 schools in New York City. Distribution will then continue to San Antonio, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C.
The goal is to get kids to listen to and dance along to songs like "Veggie Luv" and "Hip Hop Lean." The popularity of hip hop in African-American and Latino communities is hoped to combat health issues existing within those communities. African-American children are 50 percent more likely than caucasian children to be overweight or obese and Hispanic children are 30 percent more likely.
The single "Everybody" includes Michele Obama, Jordin Sparks, Doug E. Fresh, and Dr. Oz. The video depicts children dancing between takes of kids who are exercising. Doug E. Fresh and Dr. Oz have an exchange about exercise and cardiac health. The directors hope to use the influence that music has on young people as an avenue to better choices.
Using hip hop as an instrument for learning is not without precedent. Some teachers have been using it as a device to engage students. They use components of the music as a channel for conversation about other subjects.
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Cheryl Ann Borne, writing as My Bariatric Life, is a contributing writer and Paleo recipe developer for HealthCentral’s Obesity Community. Cheryl is an award-winning healthcare communications professional and obesity health advocate who has overcome super obesity and it’s related diseases. She publishes the website MyBariatricLife.org and microblogs on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. Cheryl also is writing her first book and working on a second website. Watch her transformational video on Vimeo.