Be honest: How often does your hair stand in the way of you working out? It’s OK, we get it. You spend your hard-earned coins at the salon and the thought of messing it up at Zumba makes your stomach hurt.
But can this attitude be harming our health?
According to a new study, this concern for our tresses is definitely an issue, so much so that doctors should consider bringing this obstacle up when talking to Black female patients about weight loss and other health concerns.
According to a report published in the Journal Of The American Board of Family Medicine, 95 percent of the clinicians engage in discussions with African-American patients regarding physical activity, but 76 percent have never included hairstyling or maintenance, and only 34 percent noted being comfortable discussing the topic.
Even more eye-opening. Most docs didn’t even know this was a thing.
These findings were extremely othersome to study leader Dr. Sophia Tolliver, a family medicine physician at Ohio State Wexner Medical Center in Columbus.
“As physicians, if we don’t have those specific conversations, we’re not doing everything that we can to decrease this barrier and help African-American women overcome what they feel is holding them back from exercise,” she said.
Be clear: this matters. As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found, 56 percent of African-American women are obese and 28 percent overweight. And we know that weight and sedentary lifestyles are linked to other chronic issues, which we face. Forty percent of us suffer from high blood pressure, we are 80 times more likely to develop diabetes compared to our white counterparts and nearly half of us over the age of 20 suffer from some form of heart disease.
Knowing this, it’s obvious that we need health care professionals who are culturally competent and understand what we as Black women go through.
“It’s going to come down to increasing education about African-American hair, African-American females’ cultural practices when it comes to hair, and how you can counsel a patient in an office visit about decreasing that barrier,” Tolliver added.
According to a university news release, Tolliver believes that doctors should suggest the following to encourage sistas to get their sweat on and still care for their hair:
- If you’re new to exercise, consider starting with low-impact exercises, such as walking, to minimize sweating.
- Try a protective hairstyle, such as braids, twists, buns or extensions.
- Schedule more strenuous workouts on a day you plan to wash your hair.
BEAUTIES: Has your doctor ever talked to you about the link between your hair and not working out?