Press Releases

1999 Releases

New booklet contains haircare information for black women who exercise

For immediate release: February 02, 1999 

Boston, MA--The health benefits of exercise are widely known and frequently discussed. A less common topic of conversation has been the barriers to exercise that confront black women. One impediment to exercise is presented by the particular hair-care needs and concerns of black women.

A new 24-page publication, Hair Care Tips for Sisters on the Move: Feeling Fit and Looking Fine, addresses these concerns of black women. The booklet contains advice for minimizing the negative effects of sweat or chlorinated water on natural or relaxed hair, or on braids, weaves, knots, and more. The tips range from the general ("natural hairstyles hold up to frequent shampoos") to the specific ("prior to swimming, protect relaxed hair with an oil-based hairdress").

The first printing of the booklet is being distributed to women in Boston's Dorchester, Mattapan, and Roxbury neighborhoods. The book is available at area hair salons, athletic clubs, and from the nineteen members of the Sisters Together coalition.

"The idea for the booklet was raised at one of the first coalition meetings," said Donna DeCaille, a community nutritionist and contributor to the effort. "For this project, I talked with many women in the community, some who exercised, some who didn't, and I found that there was a large number of women who were afraid to exercise until they perspired because of their caution for their hairstyle."

DeCaille gathered the tips in the book from athletically involved people and hair stylists. "With the information in this book, I hope that more women will feel able to take advantage of the benefits of exercise."

Sisters Together promotes healthy lifestyles among people of color in the urban Boston area. The group began as a collaboration of Harvard School of Public Health, New England Medical Center, Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy, and the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Founded in 1997, the group now includes the support of many community-based organizations ranging from the Big Sister Association of Greater Boston to the Roxbury YMCA.

Coalition members from the Harvard School of Public Health are currently reviewing the public's acceptance and use of the advice contained in the book. Additional printing and greater distribution is planned for the future.

Hair booklets will be distributed by Sisters Together coalition partners who are listed below.

  • ABCD Head Start
  • BALI - Black American Lifestyle Intervention Program
  • Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
  • Better Cardiovascular Health for the Women of Roxbury
  • Big Sisters Association
  • Bond of Color
  • Body by Brandy
  • Coalition of 100 Black Women
  • Codman Square Health Center
  • Dimmock Community Health Center
  • Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program--UMASS
  • The Family Van
  • Harvard School of Public Health
  • Mattapan Community Health Center
  • Boston Black Women's Health Initiative
  • Operation Frontline
  • Reggie Lewis Center
  • Roxbury Heart Center
  • Roxbury YMCA
  • WELL: Women Enjoying Longer Lives at Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital
  • WILD - 1090 The Vibe
For contact names and additional information about Sisters Together, please contact the Sisters Together office at (617) 432-2048.

For further information, please contact:

Sisters Together
Harvard School of Public Health
677 Huntington Avenue
Boston, Massachusetts 02115

Contact: Daina King
Phone: 617-432-2048
Email: dking@hsph.harvard.edu