Surgeon General Calls for Health over Hair

Anahad O’Connor, New York Times, August 25, 2011

The United States surgeon general has a new message for American women: It is O.K. to have a bad hair day.


The problem, [surgeon general] Dr. Benjamin said, is that many women–particularly black women, like herself–invest considerable amounts of time and money in chemical relaxers and other treatments that transform naturally tight curls into silky, straight locks. Moisture and motion can quickly undo those efforts, with the result that many women end up avoiding physical activity altogether.


But Dr. Benjamin and other researchers say that removing any barrier to physical activity is crucial to the health of American women, and in particular black women, a group that has a higher rate of obesity than any other demographic. According to government figures, nearly 50 percent of black women over age 20 are overweight or obese, compared with 33 percent of white women and 43 percent of Hispanic women.

When researchers at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina sampled 103 black women from the area, they found that about a third exercised less because they were concerned it would jeopardize their hair. {snip}



Dr. Regina Benjamin


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21 Responses to “Surgeon General Calls for Health over Hair” Subscribe

  1. Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 5:46 pm #

    The “don’t muss my hair” excuse is right up there with that other cultural attribute of “don’t snitch”. At some point wouldn’t it make sense to condemn some behaviors even if they are predominantly from black people. This is laughable if it weren’t so pathetic. And from the US Surgeon General! So sister what to do, assume mussed hair is a good excuse and find other ways to help those unwilling to exert themselves, or condemn that excuse as unacceptable and tell them to figure it out. Life’s tough choices; stupid hair or health. Apparently for some its more than they can handle. Really isn’t it the more generic stereotypic issue of blacks inability to practice delayed gratification (beautiful hair) for longer term benefits (personal health).

    Or wait, why bother let ’em face the consequences of obesity and poor health. Sadly we taxpayers have to carry the burden.

  2. Awakened August 30, 2011 at 5:54 pm #

    If you look at Dr. Benjamins’ facial features, it’s not hard to see that she is at least half-White. As far as Black women go, their obesity is going to continue. They have more testosterone in their body than women of any other race and they love “throwing their weight around” so-to-speak. They feel that it gives them power when they’re larger. The media in turn promotes everything that Blacks do as being good and wonderful. This endless promotion influences the population to gain weight. The more people that gain weight the more socially acceptable it is to be fat. And the baggy clothes hip-hop culture has also made it easy for people to gain weight. It used to be difficult for extremely fat people to find clothes. No more. This is all part of multiculturalism and the forced acceptance of all these types of aberrations.

  3. sbuffalonative August 30, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    This is why ObamaCare is doomed to fail.

    The theory is that people ultimately suffer from preventable diseases because they don’t have access to doctors so they don’t get treatment for health issues while they’re preventable and treatable.

    The fact is there are people who will do nothing to take care of themselves. It takes effort and commitment to live a healthy life and too many people aren’t willing to make that effort.

    What they ultimately want is for a doctor to give them a pill that will cure them so they can just go on living as they are.

    If your more concerned about messing your hair than you are about losing weight and being active, there isn’t a program the government can devise that will help you.

  4. the Guru August 30, 2011 at 6:33 pm #

    FYI the largest industry among blacks has to do with hair and related products.

  5. Istvan August 30, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Half the black women I know could leave their hair on a hatrack.

  6. Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 7:29 pm #

    so Imus was right

  7. Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    Our Surgeon General is an obese black woman?? When did that happen?

  8. Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 8:03 pm #

    Doesn’t seem like African American woman are avoiding all exercise.

  9. LOUDMOUTH57 August 30, 2011 at 8:33 pm #

    Well,it looks like African American hair relaxing products are going to be added to the growing list of items for a special healthcare tax. This is just hilarious! The cigarette tax will now be followed by a junk food tax. Right behind the junk food tax will be the hair relaxer tax. I guess the Obama administration is really more fair to whites than we previously thought. Maybe the Obama gang thinks it will be leveling the playing field when singling out African American hair relaxers for a special tax. Remember the Obama gang did tax tanning salons for whites so now they are just playing fair. If you think a tax like this is far fetched you’re not thinking. The United States government has gone absolutely insane. Ten years ago a story like this would be on Saturday night live or in a comedy satire news source like the onion. Today instead of coming from comedy central or the onion these idiotic stories are coming from government agencies or the agents themselves like the United States Surgeon General.

  10. Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 9:49 pm #

    I read this article the other day and my jaw dropped. So now white people are being blamed because ‘women of color’ feel self-conscious when their hair gets sweaty and frizzes out at the gym?

    Then I noticed the ‘surgeon general’ and I realized, we can’t win. Race to the bottom.

  11. Anon August 30, 2011 at 10:30 pm #

    You learn something new every day. It never would have occurred to me to consider hair when choosing whether to exercise or not. Usually the important factor is the contest between laziness vs. internal nagging. However, diet also plays a very important factor in determining health, and blacks are not noted for being careful about what they eat. It’s also significant that blacks sit around watching TV more than whites do.

  12. Anonymous August 30, 2011 at 11:58 pm #

    Whatever happened to “Black is Beautiful, baby?” Kinky hair is black, therefore beauteous.

    Then why the small fortune spent on hair straighteners?

  13. Dan August 31, 2011 at 12:37 am #

    Surgeon General…really? The picture of health! Every hairdo will be a wanted and planned hairdo

  14. Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Says the overweight Dr with straight hair.

  15. Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 1:03 pm #

    If a person could design some sort of hair straightener for blacks that was impervious to water, he would make enough money to make Bill Gates look like a pauper.

  16. Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm #

    Psychiatrists and psychologists who specialize in incest say victims often pack on the pounds as children and teens because of depression or perhaps as an unconscious way to get big and strong so as to fight off dad, brother, uncle whatever.

  17. Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 1:51 pm #

    “They have more testosterone in their body than women of any other race and they love “throwing their weight around” so-to-speak. They feel that it gives them power when they’re larger. The media in turn promotes everything that Blacks do as being good and wonderful. This endless promotion influences the population to gain weight. The more people that gain weight the more socially acceptable it is to be fat.”

    I occasionally watch Sanford and Son. The middle aged black women are all as slim as models. Of course he recruited actors who were his friends from his days in the black club circuit.

    I don’t think I have seen even one black woman on Sanford and Son who was even medium build. They are all slim.

    Occasionally I don’t grab the remote soon enough when a black sit com comes on. Both women and men are gargantuan. On those sit coms a 5’5 200 pound woman is slender by comparision to the 300 pound or more women.

  18. Anonymous August 31, 2011 at 1:55 pm #

    California tried a tax on “snacks”. It caused so many problems it was dropped after a few years.

    A single doughnut in a plastic envelope was a snack. 10 doughnuts in a box is bakery goods. A 1 ounce bag of potato chips is a snack. A 16 ounce bag of potato chips is groceries.

    Obama is promoting a VAT tax. In Europe it is 18 percent.

  19. Bandmo August 31, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

    I can only wonder if this Surgeon General Benjamin would demand 100% so called “affirimative action” doctors and nurses to attend to her or family if need be.

  20. Tim in Indiana August 31, 2011 at 7:58 pm #

    A few points: first, I had no idea that the surgeon general of the United States was a black woman. That’s really a good representation of the general populace, eh? Shouldn’t Obama have chosen a Middle Eastern or Asian man? Secondly, didn’t we read a published reaction a few months ago by a black woman about an article detailing the extreme lengths to which black women go to style their hair? The reaction said the original article was highly exaggerated. Now no less than the surgeon general herself confirms the black obsession with hair care. Finally, does anyone really believe that the main reason black women don’t exercise is that they don’t want to mess up their hair?

  21. Anonymous September 1, 2011 at 11:32 am #

    19 — Bandmo wrote at 2:35 PM on August 31:

    I can only wonder if this Surgeon General Benjamin would demand 100% so called “affirimative action” doctors and nurses to attend to her or family if need be.

    After 40 years of agressive affirmative action in many areas there are no longer enough White male American merit qualified Drs around. In California I spent several weeks finding an HMO that had the White American Drs I needed.

    Most of the hospitals in California have signs all over bragging about their diverse work force including Drs. I have found over the years that White American women Drs are as incompetent if not more than the third world non Whites so aggressively recruited by the hospitals and med practices.

    I have many medical problems that should have been caught and cured very early on. My HMO and clinic was staffed by White women Drs incapable of diagnosis.

    More than 20 White women Drs over 6 years were unable to diagnose me. I read some nursing and med school text books and diagnosed myself. I told those White women Drs exactly what was wrong with me and the tests that would confirm the diagnosis.

    They all refused to order the tests. Finally I found that rare species in California, a White American male Dr. He ordered the tests and my diagnosis was confirmed.

    Unfortunately I am in a wheelchair for the rest of my life because of the inability of more than 20 White women Drs to diagnose me for 6 years.

    The pro affirmative action elites are treated by affirmative action Drs in the most expensive hospitals and practices. They can’t get away from the consequences of affirmative action.