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August 02, 2012 at 13:24 PM EDT
UnitedHealthcare and Bronner Bros. Host Third Annual "Hair Fitness" Contest and Class to Promote Exercise-Friendly Hairstyles for African-American Women

UnitedHealthcare and Bronner Bros. are hosting the third annual “Hair Fitness” competition for exercise-friendly hairstyles at the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show, a trade show that draws 60,000 hairstylists from across the nation.

Dr. Reed Tuckson, UnitedHealth Group; celebrity stylist Elgin Charles, Amy Hilliard, James Bronner a ...

Dr. Reed Tuckson, UnitedHealth Group; celebrity stylist Elgin Charles, Amy Hilliard, James Bronner and U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin celebrate with winning stylist Jason Griggers and his model at the 2011 Bronner Brothers International Hair Show (Photo: Russell Kaye).

The Hair Fitness competition will take place Sunday, Aug. 5, during the Bronner Bros. International Hair Show at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta and is designed to promote styles that help African-American women look great while staying fit.

The event will kick off at 10 a.m. ET with the “Stylin’ Healthier Futures” class. Celebrity stylist Elgin Charles and Bronner Bros. master hairstylist Sherita Cherry will demonstrate hairstyles that balance beauty and an active lifestyle. In addition, a health professional will teach stylists how to introduce healthy-living practices to their customers.

At 2 p.m. ET, UnitedHealthcare will host the “Hair Fitness Competition,” in which hairstylists compete to create stylish, exercise-friendly hairstyles. The grand-prize-winning stylist will be awarded $5,000, and the winning styles will be publicized nationally in Upscale Magazine and online. Attendees include Regina M. Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., Surgeon General of the United States; celebrity hairstylist Elgin Charles, known as the “Emperor of Hair” and star of VH1’s Beverly Hills Fabulous; WNBA Washington Mystics player Ashley Robinson; and Reed Tuckson, M.D., Executive Vice President and Chief of Medical Affairs at UnitedHealth Group and former Public Health Commissioner for the District of Columbia.

The Hair Fitness competition is inspired by studies that have shown many African-American women avoid certain kinds of fitness activities in order to maintain their hairstyles, citing the time and cost involved, as well as by the alarming rates of obesity among African Americans. According to the 2011 edition of America’s Health Rankings®, the prevalence of obesity among African Americans in 36 states and the District of Columbia exceeds 30 percent, which outpaces obesity rates for whites and poses serious health consequences, including diabetes and heart disease.

“We believe people should never have to choose between their health and a great look,” said Dr. Tuckson. “There is a way to have both, and that’s why we’re grateful for the opportunity to again partner with Bronner Bros. and stylists across the country to showcase the latest fit-friendly styles.”

The Bronner Bros. International Hair Show Hair Fitness competition will include three categories: low-impact workout, which involves little to no sweat and requires only one shampoo/condition per week; moderate-impact workout, which involves modest sweat and requires 1-2 shampoo/conditions per week; and high-impact, which involves profuse sweating and requires 2-3 shampoo/conditions per week. The stylists will be judged on the technical execution of the styles, originality, suitability and head contour, and new ideas. The hair show will give stylists in attendance ideas for clients who are looking to become more active and health-conscious, while maintaining their hair regimen.

“Worrying about your hair should never be a reason not to exercise,” said Charles. “As stylists, we have an important role to play in educating our clients not only about how to manage their hair, but also how to make their hairstyle support a healthy lifestyle. My hope is that through this contest, we’ll help women everywhere understand that they don’t have to sacrifice their health to look great.”

UnitedHealthcare recognizes that stylists represent a powerful force for enhancing African-Americans’ health. UnitedHealthcare launched a Stylin’ Healthier Futures pilot in Milwaukee last year to encourage healthier lifestyles among local African-American women and their families. It includes training and engaging stylists to create exercise-friendly hairstyles, and has reached more than 300 people in Milwaukee’s African-American communities. The pilot has shown that stylists are willing and able to learn new styling techniques and health tips and encourage their customers to maintain both their hairstyles and their exercise regimens successfully. Based on this success, UnitedHealthcare is planning to expand the program to other cities.

About UnitedHealthcare
UnitedHealthcare is dedicated to helping people nationwide live healthier lives by simplifying the health care experience, meeting consumer health and wellness needs, and sustaining trusted relationships with care providers. The company offers the full spectrum of health benefit programs for individuals, employers and Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries, and contracts directly with more than 650,000 physicians and care professionals and 5,000 hospitals nationwide. UnitedHealthcare serves more than 38 million people and is one of the businesses of UnitedHealth Group (NYSE: UNH), a diversified Fortune 50 health and well-being company.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50365240&lang=en

Contacts:

UnitedHealth Group
Lauren Mihajlov, 952-936-3068
lauren_mihajlov@uhg.com
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