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Obesity Influences Frequency of Migraine Headaches

Body mass index also associated with disability due to headaches, but not with use of medication

MONDAY, Oct. 8 (HealthDay News) -- Obesity appears to be associated with migraine headaches but not necessarily with other types of episodic headaches, researchers report in the Oct. 8 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Marcelo E. Bigal, M.D., Ph.D., of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, N.Y., and colleagues from the American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention Advisory Group, sent questionnaires to a stratified random sample of U.S. households, of which 77,879 were returned. The responses represented 162,576 individuals aged 12 years and older.

Among those with migraine, very frequent headaches were reported by 7.4 percent of respondents in the overweight category, 8.2 percent in the obese category and 10.4 percent in the morbidly obese category, compared to 6.5 percent of those in the normal-weight category. The percentage of those reporting disability due to migraines increased as body mass index increased, but use of acute prescription treatment for migraine occurred at similar rates between weight groups. No significant differences were observed between body mass index and probable migraine or severe episodic tension-type headache.

"Identifying factors and mechanisms that contribute to the onset of chronic migraine has emerged as a priority in headache research," the authors write. "Exploring the links between headache and obesity may make a substantial contribution to this effort."

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