Healthy Hair Starts With a Healthy Body: Hair Stylists as Lay Health Advisors to Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease
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Healthy Hair Starts With a Healthy Body: Hair Stylists as Lay Health Advisors to Prevent Chronic Kidney Disease

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      Prev Chronic Dis
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      Background Chronic kidney disease affects one in nine Americans. Diabetes and hypertension account for nearly three quarters of all kidney failure cases. Disproportionate rates of chronic kidney disease, diabetes, and hypertension have been observed among African Americans. More than 70% of all kidney failure cases caused by diabetes and hypertension could have been prevented or delayed with healthy lifestyles and medications. Context Approximately 14% of the population living in Michigan is African American. Despite this small proportion, 47% of patients on dialysis and 45% of those on the kidney transplant waiting list are African American. Risk of end-stage kidney failure is 4 times greater among African Americans than among whites. Methods The National Kidney Foundation of Michigan developed the Healthy Hair Starts with a Healthy Body (Healthy Hair) campaign to educate African American men and women about their disease risks and to motivate prevention behaviors. The campaign trains African American hair stylists to promote healthy behaviors with their clients through a "health chat" and by providing diabetes and hypertension risk assessment information and incentives. Consequences Since 1999, Healthy Hair has trained nearly 700 stylists and reached more than 14,000 clients in eight Michigan cities. Information collected through a client "Chat Form" suggests a number of positive behavioral results. Interpretation With nearly 60% of clients indicating that they have taken steps to prevent diabetes, hypertension, and chronic kidney disease or to seek a physician's advice, the Healthy Hair program appears to be effective in the short term in prompting attention to healthy behaviors and increasing risk awareness.
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