About Wellness Corporate Solutions

Friday, November 16, 2007

Beauty Salons- the New Health Provider

African American barbers and beauticians have been enlisted to fight the battle against hypertension and coronary heart disease among black Americans. And I say, go for it! We are fighting an uphill battle in this country to get Americans to adopt healthier habits. African Americans have the highest rate of obesity in the United States and die younger than any other racial group.

CareFirst Blue Cross Blue Shield and the MedStar Research Institute have underwitten a program to combat coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death among black americans. They have outfitted five DC barber and beauty shops with blood pressure machines and digital scales and trained the stylist on how to screen clients for obesity and high blood pressure as well as when to encourage them to see their physician.

I love this program because barbershops and hair salons play a unique role in the African American community, with 80% of African Americans visiting a barbershop or salon at least once per month. The Center for Disease control says death rate from heart disease amongst black Americans is 30% higher than for whites and the American Stroke Association shows that African Americans have twice the risk of strokes as white Americans. Similar to workplace wellness programs, these types of programs should be implemented where people spend their time.

Another program, Going to the Barbershop to Fight Cancer has been held in 22 states. Barbers host evening education sessions with doctors and their customers receive coupons for free prostate screenings. This program has resulted in 30,000 screenings.

Programs like these encourage people to monitor their health on a regular basis, and give people the tools that lead to better health.

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