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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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BOTTOM LINE: Some African-American women avoid exercising to maintain their hairstyle.

CAUTIONS: Because of the small number of women surveyed from only one geographical area, the findings may not apply to a wider group of African-American women.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Archives of Dermatology, online Dec. 17

Study associates sibling rivalries with anxiety, depression

Seemingly routine arguments between siblings during adolescence may be associated with emotional health problems including symptoms of depression and anxiety, researchers at University of Missouri found.

In the study, 145 pairs of siblings ages 12 to 15 reported the type of disagreements they were most likely to engage in with their sibling and the intensity of the arguments. One year later, the siblings answered questions about their emotional health.

Adolescents who reported having arguments about invading personal space or taking another’s possessions were also more likely to report having higher levels of anxiety and low self-esteem one year later. Those who reported having frequent arguments about fairness between the two siblings were more likely to report having symptoms of depression.

The findings suggest that not all adolescents learn to adjust to what may seem like universally experienced conflicts with their sibling. Parents may need to seek professional help for their children if they have frequent high intensity arguments, the researchers concluded.

BOTTOM LINE: Arguments between siblings during adolescence may be associated with later symptoms of depression and anxiety.

CAUTIONS: While the study suggests a correlation, it could not prove that arguments between siblings cause emotional health problems. It is unclear whether the children who reported having symptoms of anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem were formally diagnosed with a disorder.

WHERE TO FIND IT: Child Development, Dec. 20

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