A recent announcement made by Surgeon General Regina Benjamin regarding black women’s obesity rates in the US and their hair has made major news across the country. The conversation came about during the Surgeon General’s trip to the Bronner Brothers Hair Show in Atlanta. She was discussing the state of African American women’s health in the US and how the obesity rates have skyrocketed over the years due to lack of exercise, poor nutrition and other factors.
One of the biggest factors as to why African American women tend to shy away from working out is their hair. According to Surgeon General Benjamin, many African American women concerned about ruining their hair by sweating it out.
“Often times you get women saying, ‘I can’t exercise today because I don’t want to sweat my hair back or get my hair wet.’ When you’re starting to exercise, you look for reasons not to, and sometimes the hair is one of those reasons.”
We are not sure how to feel about this. We think that she has a point in that many African American women are closely tied to their hair and how it looks and the idea of sweating one’s hair out is not something many women regardless of race are in favor of. However, I think the issues of obesity go much further than hair. It’s also about lack of resources, lack of quality food, lack of information regarding health and nutrition to cite a few sources.
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin has opened up a can of worms that may or may not cause her some issues in the future but the dirty little secret about black women and their hair is out now and there’s no turning back.