Why do so many African-American women cope with weight problems? It’s a big health issue that has been puzzling doctors for decades. Now a possible answer popped up: The ladies don’t want to ruin their hairstyle.
The discovery was made by dermatologists in North Carolina that help people with skin issues. They wondered why so many of their African-American female clients were overweight, so they set up a questionnaire. Of the 103 women that answered the questions, 40 percent said their hair sometimes kept them from exercising.
African-American women often put a lot of money and time into their hair. They heat it or use chemicals to get the style they want. Water or sweat can ruin this effect, so many women just wash their hair once every one or two weeks. Exercise doesn’t fit easily into this schedule.
Allthough all the women in the study noted exercise is important, more than half of them said they exercised less than 75 minutes a week. 26,5 Percent even reported zero exercise per week. The women in the research were between 21 and 69 years of age, with an average age of 42,3 years.
The study is not representative for the whole African-American female population. Because the participants were recruited through the dermatologist clinic, they could have more problems with their scalp. The study itself pointed out that women that had no exceptionally dry or oily scalp, were significantly more likely to participate in gym activities.
More research is thus needed. But health campaigns and programs could already try new methods to get these women in shape: they could focus more on hair care.