The women in the study either have type 2 diabetes or are at risk of getting the disease. One major factor in type 2 diabetes is often obesity which can be curtailed by dancing.
Texas Tech Associate Professor Jamie Cooper said she wanted the study to be something that would help the women lose weight and get healthy but also something more fun than traditional exercise.
"We designed this study to try and overcome a lot of those barriers and we thought Zumba dance would be a fun way for these women to be active without thinking that it's a chore and that exercise actually can be fun."
The women in the study take the Zumba class 3 times a week for 16 weeks. At the end of the program they will have hopefully lost body mass and lowered their blood sugar levels.
Sylvia Gonzales said the classes have helped her keep up with her two young children.
"You know I have two children at home under three years old so I just feel like I can get around and get to doing the things I need to do after class and so it definitely gives me more energy."
At the end of the study the data will be compiled and presented at a national conference. If all goes well the study could lead to another study with federal funding and a nutritionist in addition to the dance classes.
There are 8 more weeks left in the study but Oralia Vasquez says she already feels more energetic and is able to keep up with her pre-k students.
"Now I feel I can get on the floor a lot better with them, I can get up and do a lot more things with them than I did before. I feel healthier, energized, and I like it. I like Zumba."