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Study shows doctors don't realize hairstyle may inhibit exercise among some African American women

According to the CDC, 56% of African American women age 20 and over are obese, putting them at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes, and stroke.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — New research from The Ohio State University Wexner Medicine Center identifies a gap in doctor knowledge and understanding of hair care as a barrier to exercise among African American female patients. 

The study, published in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine, found an overwhelming majority of primary care doctors talk to their African American female patients about the importance of exercise as part of a healthy lifestyle, but three quarters of them never discuss how hair care affects physical activity.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 56% of African American women age 20 and over are obese, putting them at higher risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Regular exercise can prevent or help manage these health conditions.  

The research highlights the need to incorporate this cultural competency into continuing medical education and medical education curriculums to improve the doctor-patient relationship, which could have a lasting impact on the long-term health outcomes of African American females. 

Editor's Note: The below story aired on November 12, 2020

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