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In a recent telephone interview study, researchers found that the frequency and severity of migraine headaches may increase as a person's body weight increases. Of the 3800 migraine sufferers surveyed, 51.3% had a normal body mass index (BMI), 30.6% were overweight, 10.4% were obese, 4.6% were morbidly obese, and only 3.1% were underweight. The average age of the respondents was 38.7 years, and 65% were women. The researchers noted that there was no direct link between BMI and the prevalence of migraines. As BMI increased, however, so did the frequency of migraines. In the normal-weight group, 4.4% had 10 to 15 headaches per month. The incidence increased to 5.8% in the overweight group, 13.6% in the obese group, and 20.7% in the morbidly obese group. In addition, increased BMI enhanced migraine-related disability and sensitivity to light and sound. The study results were published in the February 2006 issue of Neurology.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.