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Obesity in the Pediatric Headache
Population: A Multicenter Study
Hershey AD, Powers, SW, et al.
Posted: March 2009  
Headache  2009;49:170-177

Objective:  To examine the prevalence of obesity, the relationship between weight compared with headache frequency and disability, and effect of weight change on headache outcomes within a pediatric headache population.

Background:  Headache and obesity are both common conditions in children and adults. Research in adults has suggested a relationship between the 2 conditions. This relationship has not yet been explored within a pediatric population. The effect of obesity and weight change on headache outcomes may have important implications for clinical care.

Method:   Data on height, weight, age and gender, as well as headache frequency and disability were collected on 913 consecutive patients at 7 pediatric headache centers.

Results:  The prevalence of overweight patients at initial visit did not significantly differ from the general pediatric population. For children who were obese or at risk for overweight as initial visit, change in body mass index was significantly positively correlated with change in headache frequency at 3- and 6-month follow-up.

Conclusions:  Obesity is associated with headache frequency and disability in the pediatric headache population. For children who are overweight, weight loss can contribute to a reduction in headaches over time. Clinicians should consider child weight status in providing care for pediatric headache.