YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

BOOSTER SHOTS: Oddities, musings and news from the
health world

Surgeon General Regina Benjamin says a hairdo may deter exercise. Is she right?

August 26, 2011|By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times / for the Booster Shots blog
  • U.S. Surgeon General says American women's hairstyles may deter them from working up a sweat for fear of ruining their 'dos.
U.S. Surgeon General says American women's hairstyles may deter… (Christina House / For The…)

Dr. Regina Benjamin, surgeon general of the United States, is warning American women of an impediment to a healthy, active life: their hairstyles.

Benjamin said that the expensive products and time-consuming procedures that some women, especially African American women, invest in to straighten and control their tight curls may deter them from working out. After all, just a little moisture could undo the hairdo that was the result of a lot of time and money.  

"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, who is also African American, told the New York Times. "When you're starting to exercise, you look for reasons not to, and sometimes the hair is one of those reasons."

The story pointed out some interesting research from Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center that found about a third of black women surveyed said they exercised less because they were worried about their hair.

This isn't the first time hair relaxants and other products have come under fire; many types of grooming practices, such as weaves, braids and hot combs, have been linked to a type of scarring hair loss called central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia.

Think the hairdo-trumps-exercise argument is a valid point or full of more hot air than a hair dryer? Post your thoughts below.

Follow me on Twitter @LAT_aminakhan.

Los Angeles Times Articles