A recent study shows that the upkeep up hairstyles is a factor preventing many African American from exercising. The study, published in the Archives on Dermatology, revealed about forty percent of African-American women skip their exercising because of hair issues. Dr. Amy J McMichael, a dermatologist at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem wanted to know why so many African American women in her clinic were overweight. “I’m treating them for dermatology related issues, but as a doctor this was even more concerning…these women [are] at risk for hypertension, diabetes, and other serious problems,” Dr. Amy J McMichael says.


The issues of health and exercise are very important for the African-American community. Four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese. One hundred three African-American women were surveyed in the research, ranging from age 21 to 60. A questioner asked about their exercise habits and issues with hair and working out. More than 25 percent did not exercise at all and 50 percent said they changed their hairstyle to be able to exercise. All subjects agreed exercise was important, but nearly forty percent avoided exercise because of hair-related issues.


Gary Bennett, associate professor of psychology, global health and medicine in department of psychology at Duker University, says, “This is a serious issue…Those of us who have worked in black communities have observed this for a long time…there aren’t many easy answers.”


UnitedHealthCare sponsors a yearly contest to come up with an exercise-friendly hairstyle for the African American community. One that is easily manageable while maintaining a good style. They are traveling to various salons and passing around the hair styles best suited for exercise. It could really make a difference in the community and the impact of their health. Dr. Reed Tuckson, former Washington, D.C. Public Health Commissioner and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group, says, “What’s been really fun about it is that prominent hairstylists are starting to recognize now that what we are doing by emphasizing the hairstylist’s role is much more profound…”


Source: CBS News