Speak Up Sister: Black Women, Hair and Exercise–A Much-Needed Survey


Just a little while back, I posted a blog post “Are you too fly to be fit?” (Click the link here to read it.) In that blog post, I included a link to a short post on Facebook by a Sister-Physician, and do you know, she actually contacted me?! It was pretty exciting, I must confess.

The sister’s name is Dr. Rebecca Alleyne who is conducting a research project on Black women, hair, and exercise. (Once you scroll down, you will see her extremely cute picture.)

Dr. Rebecca is a bad (meaning good) Sister. And she needs Black women’s help for her research. Read on (below) to see how sassy she is and everything she’s done and will do. And click here for the link to the survey.

Now, before you Sisters say to yourselves, “I do not have time for this. I have lots of stuff to do, and that does not include filling out a survey,” think about what I said in my blog post, “Sister, Love Thyself” about taking time to take care of yourself.

When have you ever known a doctor to only be interested in Black women—to do something that would help only Black women? Let me tell y’all, this is a very rare occurrence and an extraordinary one, and frankly, I feel pretty special that Dr. Rebecca contacted me. And I feel grateful to her for wanting to do something to help out Black women.

So read on and find out all about Dr. Rebecca Alleyne and her incredible work. You know you want to!

And please don’t forget to pass the word on to other Sisters. And if you are not Black or a woman, please pass the word on to a Black woman you do know, and you will be appreciated. In fact, I appreciate you already–seriously and with so much love.

If you are a Black woman, not only should we Sisters be loving ourselves individually, we should be loving each other collectively. And sometimes, sending along good information is the best way to love somebody. Believe that.

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Dr. Rebecca Alleyne

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“Survey on Black Women, Hair, and Fitness”

…………..by Dr. Rebecca Alleyne

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My name is Rebecca Alleyne and I’m a board certified physician.   I’m a breast cancer surgeon by training, but I’ve developed a strong interest in preventive health over the last few years. You may wonder why a breast cancer specialist is interested in exercise.  Recently several studies were published linking exercise habits and risk of breast cancer.  There are also studies linking body fat content and breast cancer risk, particularly after menopause.

This year I am conducting a research project on Black women, hair and exercise.   The study is a survey of Black women, their hair care habits and their exercise habits.  It’s 13 questions altogether and should take about 7 minutes to complete.  My goal is to get at least 1000 responses to the survey.  More would be even better as larger numbers mean more powerful evidence of trends.

I’m interested in “the hair thing” because of my own behavior.  When my hair is in a higher maintenance style, whether straightened, kinky, or using extensions, I don’t work out as much.  Many Black women I know report the same thing. I was curious about this.

I looked all over the National Library of Medicine and I couldn’t find a single published study on the topic.  Since I could not find a good study, I figured I’d just do one myself.  The study is a small epidemiology study that I am funding completely on my own.  There are no pharmaceutical or hair care companies involved. This is truly a grassroots effort.

Besides being a physician, I am enrolled in a Masters in Health Administration program at the University of Southern California that begins August 2011.  I plan to use the university’s resources to do the final statistical analysis and get the results published in a peer-reviewed journal.

This may not pan out, there may be no link between hair maintenance and exercise.  But I have a hunch it will.  And the only way to find out is to ask a lot of Black women some questions.

What good will that do? My hope is it will encourage women to be aware of how our beauty habits affect our exercise routines, and consequently our health.

I want every woman to find a fitness routine she loves and a hairstyle of any type that allows her to engage in that routine with no restrictions.

If you have Black female friends or family members who may be interested in completing the survey I would greatly appreciate it if you would forward this survey to them.  The more Black women answer the questions the more accurate the trend numbers are, so feel free to send to as many people as you can.

Thank you again for participating, and if you have questions or concerns about the survey feel free to contact me at rsalleyne@gmail.com.

Link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/speakupsisterexercise

Sincerely,

Rebecca Alleyne, M.D.

12 thoughts on “Speak Up Sister: Black Women, Hair and Exercise–A Much-Needed Survey

  1. I had the pleasure of meeting Dr. Rebecca and some of her family members. She is indeed a champion for Black women’s health issues.

    Yashara/BJ

  2. Oh, I will, I pass loads of things from Honoree, she is a now known to me as a ‘prairie gal’ previously being a southern belle! I of course am a ‘gold rush country gal’ previously being a Jewish girl from the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles!

  3. Many thanks to you Honoree for writing a post about this project, I really appreciate your help. Barabara,Lily’s right. The information discussed here is indeed for everyone. If you’re not in the “fill it out” demoographic sending it to friends who are will help thousands, possibly millions, of women once the results are analyzed and published.
    Beverly- thank you for always supporting me! I appreciate you

    One word about the study. Honoree was kind enough to let me know the link wasn’t working for about 2 hours yesterday. Apparently the survey site got overwhelmed by multiple replies so if you tried it and got an error message please try it again. Also the survey site does not work well with most mobile phone browsers. I’ve heard that it won;t take you past the first page of the survey. So please use a non mobile phone browser when you are filling out the survey.
    Thanks again to everyone who fill the survey out and an extra thanks to those who pass it along to friends. Word of mouth is a very powerful thing!
    Sincerely,
    Rebecca Alleyne

  4. Dr Rebecca, I did post your survey site and will repost it again next week so it remains at the top of my page. I also forwarded to some of my fb friends. Good luck!

  5. Thanks Barbara! I appreciate you.

    Aphrodite, thanks so much for your interest and for passing along to friends. I don’t have a geographic restriction on replies. I believe women of African descent in industrialized countries now have very similar hair practices so I am accepting replies from any woman of African descent with web access. That does pose another way to sort the data. If I get enough non US replies I’ll include any differences in the final write up.

    Thank you all for your help, as of right now I’m just 39 replies from the 1000 participant mark.

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