It took years before Dr. Reed Tuckson worked up enough courage to cross the imaginary boundary that separated the men and women at his community’s beauty shop. But, in his desire to find out how to help African American women live fitter and healthier lives, he knew taking these steps was necessary.
“All these women would come in, would get these elaborate things done,” Tuckson, a former Washington, D.C. Public Health Commissioner and executive vice president and chief of medical affairs at UnitedHealth Group, told HealthPop. “I walked across the magical divide and asked a woman, ‘Are you exercising?’ (She) said, ‘Do you know how much money I spend on my hair?’”
Tuckson has made it his personal mission to enact changes towards healthier living in the African-American community, and he believes the place to start is the beauty shop. Using a variety of tools – including a “Hair Fitness” competition which showcases exercise-friendly hairstyles and classes that teach hairstylists how to create exercise-friendly hair, along with teaching tips to share with their clients about nutrition and fitness – Tuckson hopes that he can change the mindset of millions of women.
While obesity is a problem that is affecting the entire United States, no group is affected more than African Americans. According to the 2011 edition of America’s Health Rankings, more than 30 percent of African Americans in 36 states and Washington D.C. are obese.
Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity at 49.5 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…
Read more: CBS News