World Bulletin / News Desk
Women who have migraines may have no greater risk of becoming overweight than other women, despite what some research has suggested, according to an international study.
Some studies have found a connection between excess weight and a higher rate of migraines, but they have mainly studied people at one point in time, leaving unclear whether the weight or the migraines came first.
The current study, which appeared in the journal Cephalalgia, looked at data from the Women's Health Study, a long-term clinical trial that began following thousands of U.S. women in the mid-1990s.
"Our study should be reassuring that having migraine is not associated with future increase in relative body weight or obesity," researcher Tobias Kurth, of the French national research institute INSERM and the University of Bordeaux, said by email.
Overall, women who had migraines at the outset were no more likely than other women to become overweight or obese over the next 13 years. The average weight gain in both groups was almost identical, at around 4.5 kg (10 lb).
In theory, migraines could contribute to weight gain indirectly, such as frequent or severe headaches keeping a person from regular exercise.
The new findings are based on 19,162 female health professionals who were aged 45 or older, and of normal weight, when they entered the study. Almost 3,500 reported a history of migraines.
Over the next 13 years, 41 percent of those women became overweight, while about 4 percent became obese. But the odds of becoming obese were no greater among women with a history of migraine, and the risk of becoming overweight was only slightly higher -- 11 percent.
Severe migraines did not appear to carry a risk of extra weight either, Kurth's team found. Women who had migraines weekly to daily were at no greater risk of becoming overweight or obese than those whose migraines came a few times a year.
The study did not look at whether overweight or obese women are at increased risk of migraines or more severe ones.
"That is still possible. In fact, several studies have now shown that obesity is associated with increased migraine frequency," Kurth said.
There is also some evidence tying obesity to an elevated risk of developing migraines in the first place, but the prevalence of migraine has remained stable in recent decades, while obesity rates have soared, he added.
'The level of alarm is extremely high,' says WHO head, calls for an emergency meeting
One person has tested positive in Denmark for the mosquito-borne Zika virus
The world is making 20 times more plastic than we did 50 years ago with the majority being dumped in the sea.
Colombia's government has signed new legislation for the regulation and legalization of cannabis to be used for medicinal purposes.
Scientists predict Earth will become increasingly hostile for mankind as it warms, with disastrous storms, floods and droughts, and rising sea levels that will consume islands and eat away at populated coasts
Hundreds of thousands of climate activists have descended on Paris ahead of the UN Climate Conference and are preparing to defy a ban on street protests joining thousands of protestors around the world.
'This is all bad news for the planet,' head of the World Meteorological Organization says
UN agency calls for urgent climate deal as hundreds of thousands fall victims to weather disasters
Fifty grams of processed meat eaten daily increases risk of colorectal cancer by 18 percent, say experts
COP21 conference aims at securing a pact on greenhouse gases that would limit global warming to two degrees Celsius over pre-industrial times.
Earth is on track for average warming of 2.7 degrees Celsius by 2100, exceeding UN's anticipation
The London Project to Cure Blindness was established a decade ago to try to reverse vision loss in patients with age-related macular degeneration
Improvement has been seen around the globe, even in the key tropical rainforests of South America and Africa
Christiana Figueres says there is 1.2 million euros deficit to cover upcoming sessions
Some of the world's major cities, most Pacific island nations are at risk of disappearing due to rising seas
Yemen forces allied to the Houthi have launched a scud missile toward southern Saudi Arabia