SEP 10, 2019 2:24 PM PDT

Hula Dancing Helps Hawaiians Lower Blood Pressure

WRITTEN BY: Julia Travers

The rates of stroke and heart disease are about four times higher for Native Hawaiians than for non-Hispanic whites, according to EurekAlert. Can a traditional dance program help?

In research presented at the American Heart Association's Hypertension 2019 Scientific Sessions in September, traditional hula dancing was shown to help Native Hawaiians manage and lower their blood pressure. This population tends to have strokes and develop heart disease about 10 years before white and Asian people in Hawaii. Even with treatment for hypertension, they often struggle to control their blood pressure, according to Keawe'aimoku Kaholokula, Ph.D., lead author of the study and professor and chair of the department of Native Hawaiian health at the University of Hawaii at Manoa in Honolulu.

"We created an intervention based on hula, the traditional dance of Native Hawaiians, which can be performed at different levels of intensity by men and women of all ages and is practiced as a form of cultural and creative expression," Kaholokula said.

This research intervention worked with more than 250 Native Hawaiians of an average age of 58 years. About 80 percent were female and all were receiving medical treatment for high blood pressure. Everyone in the study went through three sessions of hypertension and healthy lifestyle education, after which the participants were randomly assigned to the hula intervention or to a control group that received no further training or support. The Hula group went to hula classes twice a week for three months and then to one monthly lesson for three more months. Individual, self-directed practice and group activities relating back to the hypertension and healthy behavior education were also included.

People who practiced hula were more likely to have lowered their blood pressure to under 130/80 mmHg and were able to maintain these improvements at one-year follow-up (six months after the hula study’s classes ended).

"While the physical benefits of dancing hula are clear, other positive impacts include creating family-like social support and increasing self-confidence and acceptance of others," said Mapuana de Silva, a hula cultural expert and study consultant, said. This study was funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Learn more about hula, known as “the heartbeat of the Hawaiian people,” below.

Article source: EurekAlert

 
About the Author
Julia Travers is a writer, artist and teacher. She frequently covers science, tech, conservation and the arts. She enjoys solutions journalism. Find more of her work at jtravers.journoportfolio.com.
You May Also Like
MAR 01, 2022
Cardiology
Heart Attacks May Lead to Lower Risk of Parkinson's Disease
MAR 01, 2022
Heart Attacks May Lead to Lower Risk of Parkinson's Disease
A large study in Denmark showed that heart attack survivors have less risk of Parkinson's.
APR 06, 2022
Technology
Mobile App Predicts Genetic Risks for Coronary Artery Disease
APR 06, 2022
Mobile App Predicts Genetic Risks for Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary artery disease(CAD) is the most common form of heart disease, affecting about 18 million adult Americans each y ...
MAY 09, 2022
Clinical & Molecular DX
COVID-19 Vaccine Technique Guiding Heart Disease Research
MAY 09, 2022
COVID-19 Vaccine Technique Guiding Heart Disease Research
The heart is made up in part of cardiomyocytes, specialized cells responsible for controlling heart beats. After a heart ...
MAY 24, 2022
Cardiology
Obesity in Pregnancy Increases Child's Risk of Heart Disease
MAY 24, 2022
Obesity in Pregnancy Increases Child's Risk of Heart Disease
Obesity and unhealthy diets cause gene expression changes that negatively impact the cardiac function of offspring.
JUN 07, 2022
Cardiology
Overtraining Negatively Impacts Mood and Heart Rate Variability
JUN 07, 2022
Overtraining Negatively Impacts Mood and Heart Rate Variability
Athletes tend to have a worse mood and lower heart rate variability the day after intense training.
AUG 02, 2022
Cardiology
Exercising 150-600 Minutes Per Week Leads to Lowest Death Risk
AUG 02, 2022
Exercising 150-600 Minutes Per Week Leads to Lowest Death Risk
People who exercise for two to four times the recommended amount per week see major reductions in all-cause mortality.
Loading Comments...