While in attendance of the Natural Hair show on this past weekend at the Georgia Convention Center, an awareness of the number overweight African-American women who were in attendance was brought up in a discussion. In this discussion, it was mentioned that as a society, we have become obsessed with the ingredients in our hair products than we are with the ingredients of the foods we eat. Although some sported earrings that read “100% natural” and wore t-shirts that read “I’m natural and proud”, there seemed to be no concern about weight control. As attendees browsed the floor, many asked questions such as “what kind of ingredients are in this conditioner?” However, in the group discussion it was asked if our community ask the same question when in comes to the foods we eat? For example, are restaurants asked what type of grease this chicken was fried in? As African -American women we have to be more self conscience about the type of foods we eat and most women have no idea that what you eat and drink can affect the overall health of your hair, skin, and nails.The same time, money, and energy that African-American women put into their hair care also needs to be put into their health care. African American women make up 82% of the obesity rate in the United States and heart disease is the number one killer among African-American women. So many African-American women are jumping on the natural hair bandwagon because they want to make themselves feel as though they are doing something positive but no matter how natural your hair is if you aren’t eating right, exercising, drinking water, or taking a multi-vitamin daily your natural hair will be unhealthy natural hair. I will say that it is hard to eat the right foods when most of us grew up with parents who believed a healthy meal was fried chicken, collard greens that were loaded with fat back and bacon grease from the old Crisco can on the counter, yams that were loaded with sugar, and mac and cheese. It is also more accepted now to be on the heavier side with all the women posting pictures on social media and hashtagging #thick #curves #biggirlsaremorefun and so on. We must keep in mind that thick turns into overweight and overweight turns into obesity if we are not careful and aware of what we put into our bodies. Obesity in the African American community is a great concern among the medical community however women are more concerned with the ingredients in their hair products (that has less history of risk of disease) than they are with the they types of food that they put in their mouth that is causing obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and other diseases that are detrimental to one’s health. According to a study, there can be higher risk of dying among African American women if they have a larger waist or are obese. What are your thoughts on this discussion?
Healthy Hair food Tip: Try replacing 1 or 2 meals with a healthy hair smoothie. Blend strawberries, blueberries, any flavor of greek yogurt, mango, cantaloupe, carrots, apricots, spinach and ice. (You don’t have to use all the fruit listed and if you use frozen fruit you don’t have to use ice) Blueberries are loaded with vitamin C which is critical for circulation to the scalp and supports the tiny blood vessels that feed the hair follicles. Greek yogurt is high in hair friendly protein, vitamin B5 , and vitamin D.
Hair Loss Causes
There are numerous factors contributing to hair loss. Knowing the source is half the battle when it comes to making informed decisions about proper treatment. Some conditions may only cause temporary hair loss, while others result in chronic and progressive problems that can last a lifetime without treatment.
- Age and Genetics: These are the two most common sources of hair loss. Hair loss can be part of the aging process. Genes play a significant role in determining whether or not hair loss will be present. Those with relatives who have experienced hair loss have greater odds of losing their hair as well.
- Disease and Medical Conditions: There are many diseases that can cause hair loss. Hair loss can often be an early sign of an undiagnosed condition such as lupus or diabetes. Illness, surgeries, stress, eating disorders, poor nutrition and infections are also factors.
- Hormonal Imbalances: Endocrine disorders including diabetes, thyroid conditions, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) as well as anomalies in androgen or estrogen levels can cause hair loss. Pregnancy and menopause can also contribute to hair loss due to hormonal changes. While hair actually tends to get thicker during pregnancy, hair loss in women can occur in the postpartum period (Telogen Effluvium). This usually recovers after 6-12 months.
- Prescription Medication: Several medications, including some for blood pressure, heart conditions, birth control, and depression have been shown to cause hair loss. Cancer treatments like radiation therapy and chemotherapy can cause hair loss as well.
- Hair Disorders and Hair Styling: Some hair disorders and diseases such as Alopecia Areata and Trichotillomania can cause hair loss in otherwise healthy people. Additionally, some hairstyles and hair products can contribute to hair loss. (http://www.hairclub.com/hair-loss-information)
African-American women have the highest rates overweight and obesity compared to other groups in the United States. About 4 in 5 African-American women are overweight or obese.
Being overweight or obese increases your risk of:
- Heart disease
- Type 2 diabetes
- High blood pressure
- Breathing problems
- Gallbladder disease
- Sleep apnea
- Some cancers
Obesity or overweight is measured with a body mass index (BMI). The taller you are, the more weight you can carry. And shorter people can’t carry as much weight. So, the BMI shows the relationship of weight to height. For instance, if you are 5 feet 4 inches tall and weigh 145 pounds, your BMI is 25. But if you are 5 feet 4 inches tall and weigh 174 pounds, your BMI is 30. Women with a BMI of 25 to 29.9 are considered overweight. Women with a BMI of 30 or more are considered obese. All people 18 years or older who have a BMI of 25 or more are at risk of early death and disability from being overweight or obese. These health risks increase as the BMI rises.
If you are overweight or obese, losing weight can lower your risk of many health problems. And physical activity is one key part of weight loss and keeping a healthy weight. Health benefits are gained by doing the following each week:
- Aerobic activity that includes:
- 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
- 1 hour and 15 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity
- A combination of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity
- Muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days of the week
- 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity
This physical activity should be in addition to your routine activities of daily living, such as cleaning or spending a few minutes walking from the parking lot to your office. If weight loss is your goal, you may need to spend more time doing aerobic activity to see the effects.
Eating healthy meals that focus on portion control also plays a role in weight loss and keeping a healthy weight. If you need to lose weight, ask your doctor to help you with a weight-loss plan that includes healthy meal planning and physical activity.(http://womenshealth.gov/minority-health/african-americans/obesity.html)
~Growing Hair Since 1998~