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Overcoming barriers to physical activity for African-American women
Date:7/21/2014

AURORA, Colo. (July 21, 2014) - According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately four out of five black women are overweight or obese and 36 percent meet physical activity objectives as determined by the CDC. That's compared to 50 percent of white women meeting the same objectives.

A study conducted by the Center for African American Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine's Center for Women's Health Research finds that African American women whose hairstyle is affected by perspiration may avoid physical activity altogether. Prior studies have found that between 29 percent and 48 percent of African American women say that their hairstyle was a factor in deciding whether or not to exercise. One key focus of this study was to learn more about cultural barriers to physical activity among African American women including hairstyle-related factors. Some women involved in the study who experience hairstyle barriers to physical activity explained that it can take too much time or money to restyle their hair after exercise that causes perspiration. Although hairstyle maintenance barriers were reported less frequently than the most highly rated general barriers of "lacking self-discipline" and "lacking money", they are important to understand in order to inform future interventions for the substantial number of sedentary AA women affected by hairstyle maintenance barriers.

What researchers found is that lower rates of exercise may be related to cultural barriers, including the costs and time required to restyle hair after exercise that causes perspiration. To reduce the time needed to restyle hair after exercise, some participants reported using "low-maintenance" hairstyles such as wearing braids or ponytails. In addition, some women described being cautious to do "safe" physical activities that do not cause perspiration, in order to overcome this barrier. This study found that 29 percent of African American women who did
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Contact: Jackie Brinkman
jackie.brinkman@ucdenver.edu
303-724-1525
University of Colorado Denver
Source:Eurekalert

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