WITH an ever-increasing obesity rate among youth, Coolangatta dance instructor Peter Leroy is concerned.
"This is not only a concern for parents of overweight kids but also governments at state and federal level," he said.
"So much so that government health departments promote and subsidise fitness and health programs targeting overweight and obese youth aimed at helping them live more active and healthier lifestyles through regular exercise and nutritious diets.
"One form of exercise that is exciting, fun and energetic is latin dance."
Peter says he will get your hips rotating while you "burn the floor" and "burn the fat" to the vibrant salsa, danced to exciting latin music at the Twin Towns Uniting Church Hall, corner Lanham and McLean streets.
"Apart from teaching people of all ages the basics of latin dance, I also focus on improving their fitness levels, stamina and aerobic ability," Peter said.
"I am shocked that Australia is now ranked one of the fattest nations in the world and it is even more worrying that the obesity and overweight rate among our young people has reached epidemic proportions.
"As a dance instructor, I not only want to teach people how to dance but also help them attain a higher fitness level.
"Dancing is a stepping stone to a happier and healthier lifestyle."
Being overweight or obese substantially increases the risk of both acute health problems and the chronic diseases that account for a high proportion of illness, disability and premature death.
Young people who are overweight or obese have a 50 percent chance of going on to be overweight adults.
Once an individual is overweight or obese, reversing the energy balance to restore a healthy weight is a significant challenge, particularly for children and young people who have little direct control over food and activity choices.
At his Latin Dance Fever classes, Peter kicks off his lessons to a slow dance beat, then increases the tempo to increase the heart rate so students get a good workout while having lots of fun dancing to lively latin rhythms.
"Even if people are reasonably fit, I can get them fitter through contra-body techniques, latin styling and hip and waist rotation," he said.
"Hopefully, over time, they will become excellent latin dancers and begin living an exciting lifestyle through dance and the wonderful friendships it can bring."
Classes are on Tuesday and Thursday nights from 7-9 and Saturday mornings from 10-midday and also include cha-cha, bachata, merengue and leJive.
Latin Dance Fever caters for ages 14 years and upwards and lessons are packaged to as low as $7.50 each.
Details 0413 125 640.