Surgeon General Wrong, Black Women’s Hair Not Cause Of Obesity

A woman with natural hair posing near mountains, wearing sunglasses

( — Black women can’t catch a break.

Lately, they’ve been criticized for everything from wearing weaves to weighing more than other racial groups.

Now, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, a black woman, is chiming in about the reason behind the higher obesity rates.

Benjamin, who has been criticized for being overweight herself, recently told the New York Times: “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.’ I hate to use the word ‘excuse’ but that’s one of them.”

Benjamin’s insight on this topic is considered credible because her mother was a hairstylist. Also, she is backed up by a study done by Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. The study polled 103 black women in the North Carolina region and found that a third of them mentioned their hair as the reason they shied away from exercise.

Sixty-four of the women had relaxed hair, and half of the participants stated that “they considered changing their hair to make it easier to exercise,” according to a press release detailing the study’s findings.

Hair was definitely a consideration when I was in high school, but I can’t blame my hairstyle for preventing me from developing a regular exercise routine later on in life.

I just never got it until I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Then, I lay awake night after night regretting every cigarette I had smoked; every cocktail I’d drunk; and every health club membership I had let expire without so much as stepping a foot inside the place after the orientation.

None of this had anything to do with my hair.

In fact, the unruly hair excuse has played out. Today, black women have a lot more alternatives when it comes to maintaining a straight hairstyle. They no longer have to smother their hair with grease and torture it with a hot comb to beat back frizzy or puffy hair.

Because of the widespread acceptance of weaves, extensions and wigs, black women don’t have to deal with their natural hair at all.

When I went for my regular hair appointment on Wednesday, I asked a couple of stylists what they thought…

To read the complete article in its entirety, please visit the Sun-Times.

For more on how to exercise and keep your style fresh, read Your Hair & Exercise: Can They Ever Be Friends?