Women may be avoiding exercise because they are overly concerned with mussed hairdos, according to the United States Surgeon General.
Speaking at a trade show for hair stylists in Atlant, De. Regina M. Benjamin cautioned that women who put significant time into treating their hair with various products and carefully arranged hairdos may not be willing to undo all that effort with movement and sweat. Benjamin noted that it provides an easy excuse for people who are already wary of exercise.
Oftentimes you get women saying, 'I can't exercise today because I don't want to sweat my hair back or get my hair wet,' Benjamin told The New York Times. When you're starting to exercise, you look for reasons not to, and sometimes the reason hair is one of those reasons.
Benjamin said that the issue especially effects black women, who tend to spend money on hair treatment and who are disproportionately affected by obesity. Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center supported that result with a study in which about a third of black women surveyed cited their hair as a reason for not exercising. Benjamin also has a personal connection to the issue as a black woman whose mother was a hair stylist.
The push to get more Americans exercising gained additional urgency on Thursday, as an article in the British medical journal Lancet found that Americans are on average the heaviest of any developed country. The report also predicted that, if current trends continue, half of Americans will be obese by 2030 -- a staggering increase from 99 million people today to more than 164 million people, driven in part by the increased prevalence of health conditions like diabetes and coronary heart disease.
Our projections find that rising obesity is going to result in increases in many of these chronic diseases which are disabling and expensive to treat, study author Dr. Claire Wang, professor of health policy and management at Columbia University in N.Y., told WebMD during a London press conference. We have to act fast.