April 17, 2017

Kā-HOLO Project: a protocol for a randomized controlled trial of a native cultural dance program for cardiovascular disease prevention in Native Hawaiians

Joseph Keawe‘aimoku Kaholokula, Mele A. Look, Thomas A. Wills, Māpuana de Silva, Tricia Mabellos, Todd B. Seto, Hyeong Jun Ahn, Ka‘imi A. Sinclair, and Dedra Buchwald on behalf of the Kā-HOLO Project

BMC Public Health

Background: As a major risk factor for cardiovascular and cerebrovascular disease (CVD), hypertension affects 33% of U.S. adults. Relative to other US races and ethnicities, Native Hawaiians have a high prevalence of hypertension and are 3 to 4 times more likely to have CVD. Effective, culturally-relevant interventions are needed to address CVD risk in this population. Investigators of the Kā-HOLO Project developed a study design to test the efficacy of an intervention that uses hula, a traditional Hawaiian dance, to increase physical activity and reduce CVD risk.

Methods: A 2-arm randomized controlled trial with a wait-list control design will be implemented to test a 6-month intervention based on hula to manage blood pressure and reduce CVD risk in 250 adult Native Hawaiians with diagnosed hypertension. Half of the sample will be randomized to each arm, stratified across multiple study sites. Primary outcomes are reduction in systolic blood pressure and improvement in CVD risk as measured by the Framingham Risk Score. Other psychosocial and sociocultural measures will be included to determine mediators of
intervention effects on primary outcomes. Assessments will be conducted at baseline, 3 months, and 6 months for all participants, and at 12 months for intervention participants only.

Discussion: This trial will elucidate the efficacy of a novel hypertension management program designed to reduce CVD risk in an indigenous population by using a cultural dance form as its physical activity component. The results of this culturally-based intervention will have implications for other indigenous populations globally and will offer a
sustainable, culturally-relevant means of addressing CVD disparities.

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