Hair care practices as a barrier to physical activity in African American women

JAMA Dermatol. 2013 Mar;149(3):310-14. doi: 10.1001/jamadermatol.2013.1946.


Objective: To characterize the influence of hair style maintenance on exercise behavior in African American women.

Design: A 40-item survey with questions concerning hair care practices, physical activity, and the relationship between the two.

Setting: University-affiliated dermatology department at an academic medical center in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Participants: A total of 123 African American women from 21 to 60 years of age were surveyed; 103 women completed the questionnaire.

Main outcome measures: The statistical significance of relationships between hair care practices and physical activity was determined.

Results: Fifty percent of African American women surveyed have modified their hair style to accommodate exercise and nearly 40% (37.9%) avoid exercise at times owing to hair-related issues. Respondents who exercised less owing to hair concerns were 2.9 times less likely to exercise more than 150 min/wk (95% CI,0.9-9.4; P=.08).

Conclusion: Dermatologists can discuss hair management strategies during exercise that facilitate routinely performing exercise.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers
  • Adult
  • African Americans / psychology*
  • Beauty*
  • Exercise / psychology*
  • Female
  • Hair*
  • Health Behavior / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • North Carolina
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult