Lifestyle & Belief

Black women avoiding exercise because of hair style, says study


A new study found that some African American women avoid exercise to maintain their hair style.


Jason Merritt

African American women may be avoiding exercise to maintain their hair styles a new study found.

Researchers at the Wake Forest School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C. found that 40 percent of the women studied avoided exercise because of their hair.

The study surveyed 103 African American women, a demographic that has been associated with a lack of physical activity, said Science Codex.

The average age of the women was 42.

Scientists say that black women often fall short of what is recommended as regular physical activity - about 150 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic training.

Researchers found in the survey that African American women fell short of the goal often because of concerns about their hair.

"Hair maintenance in African-American women in this study limited their participation in PA with more than half of the women exercising less than 75 minutes/week and 26.2 percent reporting 0 minutes of exercise per week," the authors said in a statement.

Of the participants the majority had their hair chemically straightened and the vast majority washed their hair every one or two weeks.

The main concerns of the women were swimming and water activities as well as aerobic gym activities.

Black women typically need more time and expend more effort and money to style their hair - often to make it straight, said Reuters.

"There are a lot of barriers to getting enough exercise among men and women of all ethnicities, including finding time, meeting child care needs, and cost and safety," said lead author Amy McMichael.

"But we found that hair concerns among African-American women is itself a real issue that needs to be added to the list."

The findings were published in the journal Archives of Dermatology.