Obesity in Children With Headaches: Association With Headache Type, Frequency, and Disability

Authors

  • Sarit Ravid MD,

    Corresponding author
    • Child Neurology Unit, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
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  • Eli Shahar MD,

    1. Child Neurology Unit, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
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  • Aharon Schiff MD,

    1. Child Neurology Unit, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
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  • Shirie Gordon MD

    1. Child Neurology Unit, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, Rappaport Faculty of Medicine, Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa, Israel
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  • Financial Disclosure/Funding: None.
  • Disclosure: No author has any conflict of interest regarding this article.

Address all correspondence to S. Ravid, Child Neurology Unit, Department of Pediatrics, Meyer Children's Hospital, Rambam Health Care Campus, POB 9602, Haifa 31096, Israel, email: s_ravid@rambam.health.gov.il

Abstract

Objective

To examine the association between obesity and the different types of primary headaches, and the relation to headache frequency and disability

Background

The association between obesity and headache has been well established in adults, but only a few studies have examined this association in children, in particular, the relationship between obesity and different types of primary headaches.

Methods

The authors retrospectively evaluated 181 children evaluated for headaches as their primary complaint between 2006 and 2007 in their Pediatric Neurology Clinic. Data regarding age, gender, headache type, frequency, and disability, along with height and weight were collected. Body mass index was calculated, and percentiles were determined for age and sex. Headache type and features were compared among normal weight, at risk for overweight, and overweight children.

Results

A higher prevalence (39.8%) of obesity was found in our study group compared with the general population. The diagnosis of migraine, but not of tension-type headache, was significantly associated with being at risk for overweight (odds ratio [OR] = 2.37, 95% confidence interval 1.21-4.67, P = .01) or overweight (OR = 2.29, 95% confidence interval 0.95-5.56, P = .04). A significant independent risk for overweight was present in females with migraine (OR = 4.93, 1.46-8.61, P = .006). Regardless of headache type, a high body mass index percentile was associated with increased headache frequency and disability, but not with duration of attack.

Conclusions

Obesity and primary headaches in children are associated. Although obesity seems to be a risk factor for migraine more than for tension-type headache, it is associated with increased headache frequency and disability regardless of headache type.

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