Diabetes Forecast

Black Beauty Shops Style for Wellness

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Wellness starts in our own communities.

Keokia Childress knows that the beauty shop is more than a pit stop for pampering: It can be a social center for the African American community. That's why Childress, a manager of Spa 313 Salon in Inglewood, Calif., was excited to have her shop be part of the Los Angeles area Beauty N Black Wellness Tour.

The event last summer partnered 17 beauty shops with the American Diabetes Association, Black BeautyShop Health Foundation, AIDS Healthcare Foundation, and Susan G. Komen for the Cure to offer health screenings, information, and workshops for women and girls visiting the shops. The ADA's participation incorporated its African American initiative, Live Empowered: Learning to Thrive With and Prevent Diabetes®, which offers education programs and workshops where people work, shop, worship, and play.

Highlights of the event included healthy-cooking demonstrations, as well as health education for stylists, who shared information with clients, says Valerie Loduem, associate director of the ADA's Los Angeles office.

The Live Empowered program has been well received in churches and black barbershops, but the event was the first of its kind in beauty shops. Loduem says the event reached an "untapped audience" that needs diabetes information. African Americans are 1.8 times more likely to have diabetes than non-Hispanic whites are, and 1 in 4 African American women older than 55 has diabetes.

"We're talking to them about their body and what they can do to stay healthy on the inside," Loduem says. "And women are going to go to the beauty shop. Specifically in the African American hair salons, they're there around two to three hours. It's a part of the community [and] transcends all age groups."

The community spirit and education were especially important to Childress, who is looking forward to larger health fairs, including exercise and exercise-friendly hairdos, in the future.

"It's important for salons [to get involved in the community] because the majority of the customers in the salon are women, and the woman is the nucleus of the family," Childress says. "In the black community it may be even more so because we're at such a higher risk for different diseases. [This will] ensure our health and our well-being."



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