Hair care and maintenance issues are primary factors that deter African-American women from exercising, a major health concern for a group that has the highest rates of overweight or obesity in the country.
Research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center shows that about a third of African-American women cite complications of hair care as the reason they do not exercise or exercise less than they would like, according to Amy J. McMichael, M.D., the lead author of the study published online today by Archives of Dermatology, a JAMA network publication.
McMichael, professor of dermatology at Wake Forest Baptist, specializes in hair and scalp diseases, ethnic and pigmented skin diseases, as well as general dermatology and skin care. She got interested in the correlation between hair care and weight issues because of the patients she was seeing on a daily basis. The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Minority Health reports that about four out of five African-American women are overweight or obese.
"I treat a lot of African-American women in our clinic and had noticed how many of them are overweight, and I wanted to know why," she said. "I'm treating them for dermatology related issues, but as a doctor this was even more concerning because excess weight puts these women at risk for hypertension, diabetes and other serious problems."