Body mass index and headaches: findings from a national sample of US adults

Authors

  • ES Ford,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
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  • C Li,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
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  • WS Pearson,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
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  • G Zhao,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
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  • TW Strine,

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
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  • AH Mokdad

    1. Division of Adult and Community Health, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA
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  • Disclaimer: The findings and conclusions in this article are those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earl Ford, MD, MPH, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 4770 Buford Highway, MS K66, Atlanta, GA 30341, USA. Tel. + 1 770 488 2484, fax + 1 770 488 8150, e-mail eford@cdc.gov

Abstract

The objective was to study the cross-sectional association between body mass index (BMI) and the prevalence of severe headaches or migraines in a national sample of US adults. We used data from 7601 men and women aged ≥ 20 years who participated in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999–2002. The age-adjusted prevalence of severe headaches or migraines during the previous 3 months was 34.0, 18.9, 20.7 and 25.9% among participants with a BMI < 18.5, 18.5 to < 25, 25 to < 30 and ≥ 30 kg/m2, respectively. After adjusting for a variety of covariates in a logistic regression model, those with a BMI < 18.5 kg/m2[odds ratio (OR) 2.01; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.34, 3.02] or ≥ 30 kg/m2 (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.09, 1.72) had a significantly elevated OR for having a headache compared with participants with a BMI of 18.5–< 25 kg/m2. BMI is associated with the prevalence of severe headaches or migraines in a non-linear manner.

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