Obese children may be more likely to suffer migraines later in life, according to new research presented on June 29, 2013, at the International Headache Congress in Boston.
The researchers collected data from the Muscatine Study, an ongoing population-based cohort study that began in 1970 and has followed children into adulthood. From the start of the study to 1981, body mass index (BMI), cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure were measured in school-aged children. Follow-up measurements were obtained from participants as young and middle-aged adults. Researchers mailed questionnaires screening for migraines to participants once they reached adulthood and conducted phone interviews with participants who screened positive for migraine.
The results indicated that participants who had a higher BMI in childhood had increased odds of developing migraines in adulthood. In fact, those who had a BMI above the 75th percentile in childhood had 5 times the odds of developing migraine as adults compared with their peers whose childhood BMI was below the 25th percentile. In addition, the results found an association between elevated cholesterol and total triglyceride levels in childhood and increased risk of developing migraines in adulthood.
The researchers hope to focus future studies on larger cohorts and on the migraine risk associated with being underweight in childhood.