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The Boston Globe

Health & wellness

Be Well

Hairstyles keep some African-American women from exercise

Some African-American women may be less likely to engage in physical activity because they have to modify their hairstyles, results from a new survey suggest. Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in North Carolina surveyed 103 African-American women ages 21 to 60 about their hair care practices and their physical activity levels, and 40 percent said they avoid exercising in order to maintain their hairstyle.

Common hairstyles included the use of chemical relaxers, wigs, and braids. Nearly 36 percent said they avoid swimming and nearly 30 percent avoid aerobic activity. Half of the women said they had to change their hairstyle in order to exercise. African-American women are among the groups at highest risk for obesity.

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