Recurrent Teen Headache Linked to Smoking, Overweight and Physical Inactivity
John-Anker Awart, MD University of Oslo
Headache 2009; vol 49: pp 170-177
A recent study conducted by Dr John-Anker Zwart, MD,PhD at the University of Oslo, found that teens who regularly have headaches may find that their problem is linked to overweight, smoking and/or lack of physical exercise.
The article, published in the medical journal, Neurology, found teens with all three factors were 3.4 times more likely to suffer from recurring headaches, compared to individuals of their age who did not smoke, were physically active and were not overweight.
This study revealed that of the teens with all three negative lifestyle factors, 55% had frequent headaches. Furthermore, teens with two negative factors were 1.8 times more likely to have recurring headaches.
Teenagers who had one negative lifestyle trait were affected as follows:
- Overweight teens were 40% more likely to have recurring headaches than their peers with no negative factors.
- Teen who smoke regularly were 50% more likely to have recurring headaches than their peers with no negative factors.
- Teens who exercised less than twice a week were 20% more likely to have recurring headaches than their peers with no negative factors.
This study involved almost 6,000 students, 13 to 18 years of age. The study author suggests that treatment and prevention of headaches in teenagers should perhaps include management of healthy lifestyle habits, such as regular physical activity, good diet, and cessation of smoking.