Obesity may make people more prone to migraines, the latest health problem to be associated with being too heavy, say U.S. researchers in a new study published on February 12, 2009.
Migraines are severe headaches that may also cause nausea, vomiting and sensitivity to light and noise. They are more common in women and often run in families.
In this study, researchers from Philadelphia examined 22,000 volunteers aged 20 to 55 who were obese - either by a measure of belly fat (waist circumference) or using the standard body mass index (BMI) based on a person's height and weight.
Overall, obese people were more likely to report migraines or other severe headaches.
Nearly 40 percent of women with abdominal obesity as determined by waist circumference reported experiencing such headaches, compared to 29 percent of non-obese women.
Among men, 20 percent with abdominal obesity reported migraines while only 16 percent of men without excess belly fat reported these severe headaches.
After age 55, the association of increased risk of migraines due to obesity was no longer present.
In addition to this new connection with migraine headaches, obesity also raises the risk of type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, some forms of cancer, arthritis, sleep apnea and other chronic conditions.
In 2001, Health Canada reported that over two million Canadians suffer from migraine headaches. According to the 2004 Community Health Survey, an estimated 5.5 million Canadians have a body mass index over 30, qualifying them as obese.
Do you think your body weight is affecting your migraines? Find out how nutrition consulting with Leslie Beck, RD can help you manage your weight and improve your overall health.
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