According to a new study published by Wake Forest University School of Medicine, scientists discovered that two out of every five Black women or 40 percent avoid exercise because of hairdo worries, reports Medscape News Today.
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Black women’s attitudes about their hair just adds to a growing concern about the lack of healthful fitness habits from a population that has the highest rates of being overweight and obese compared to other groups in the United States. Government estimates state that 4 in 5 African-American women are overweight or obese.
“As an African-American woman, I have that problem, and my friends have that problem. So I wondered if my patients had that problem,” said Dr. Amy McMichael, the study’s senior researcher and a dermatologist at the university.
According to Dr. McMichael, hair care for African-American women can be not only a time-consuming process but a costly one as well. “Many black women will wash their hair, perhaps once a week, in order to maintain their hairstyle or in many cases, their chemical process. Oftentimes, these women avoid at all costs even the remotest possibility of sweating their coiffed hair out, so going to the gym for them is certainly not an option,” Al Martinez, who owns Al’s Millennium Cuts and Beauty Salon in Bridgeport, Conn., told NewsOne exclusively.
Dr. McMichael and her team interviewed 103 Black women, ages 21 to 60, about exercise frequency and type and their reasons for exercising or avoiding exercise, as well as several questions about hair care and its association with exercise. More than half of these women were exercising less than 75 hours per week, which is 50 percent less than the government-recommended beneficial exercise requirement of 150 hours per week.
More than 25 percent of the women said they didn’t bother to exercise at all. One third of the women admitted they exercised less than they would actually like to because of their hair. Another 50 percent of women said they might consider changing their hairstyles in order to incorporate more exercise into their lives.
Dr. McMichael points out that there are women who also strategically make hair appointments based on their gym activity.
Martinez says, he tries to suggest hairstyles that work best for women who are exercise enthusiasts. But one thing he does warn his female clients about is that, “obsessing about your hair becomes a moot point if you can’t maintain the health of your body!”