Don’t Sweat Your Hair Out: The Frequency of Exercise for African American Women with Natural Hair

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Afiya Mbilishaka
Avery Lacey


physical activity, Appearance, Ethnicity


Introduction: Within the past decade, a Natural Hair Movement has emerged in African American female communities which focuses on discontinuing toxic chemical use on the hair as a means to promote health behaviors, like exercise.
Methods: This study investigated exercise behaviors of a sample of 144 African American women with natural hair, ranging from 18-71 years of age. Participants answered questions about the frequency of moderate and vigorous-intensity exercise recommended by the American college of Sports Medicine.
Results: Although the sample identified chemical-free hair care choices and motivation to lose weight, only 15% engaged in exercise. There was a significant negative relationship between weight and frequency of vigorous-intensity exercise (r=- 0.173; p<0.05).
Conclusions: The findings suggest that populations of African American women with natural hair are mindful of the need to lose weight, yet the greatest percentages of participants reported that they did not engage in any exercise.

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