For U.S. Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin, the thousands of hairstylists who descended upon the Bronner Brothers International Hair and Beauty Show in Atlanta had more than a mission to style the best ‘dos; they were valuable players in the quest to educate Black women about diet and exercise. Inspired by data showing that many Black women avoid exercise because they’d rather maintain their hairstyles, Benjamin teamed up with the United Healthcare Group for a new initiative to recruit the nearly 60,000 hairstylists at Bronner Brothers in the fight against obesity. The initiative kicked off with a “Hair Fitness” challenge for stylists to create exercise-friendly styles that require little maintenance and little shampooing/conditioning per week. “We want to help African-American women with innovative, easy ways they can keep their great style and keep fit,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group.
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