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(Courtesy of Robert Mecca)
Samantha Brown (c.), owner of Women's Hair Care Center in Crown Heights, works on hair of Raicine Terry as stylist Modestina Bell looks on.
For women, the hair salon has long been an intimate place for private conversations, gossip and advice between stylists and clients.
From neighborhood news to Arnold Schwarzenegger's secret family, no topic is off-limits - and in some Brooklyn neighborhoods, obesity, diabetes are now on the list of sacred topics.
Trained by public health experts last month, 16 salon owners in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights and East Flatbush have begun slipping health advice into conversation with their customers - suggesting healthy meals, exercise routines and doctor visits.
"No I don't need the scale, I've never used it," said city worker Alison Fulford, 43, after Crown Heights salon owner Samantha Brown mentioned there was a scale in the bathroom as Fulford got her hair pressed and dried last week.
The scale, a blood pressure machine, and DVDs with exercise routines, healthy food options and weight-loss tips have also been supplied to the salons.