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Migraine sufferers may need to trim their waists

February 16, 2009 |  3:39 pm

That spare tire around your middle may giving you a headache -- literally.

J18ohxnc_3Although obesity is considered a risk factor for migraines, a new study has found that the link may be stronger in people younger 55 who carry extra weight in their abdomens.

Researchers examined data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey of 22,211 men and women. Migraines were more prevalent in men and women between the ages of 20 and 55 who had abdominal obesity compared with those who didn't. In men older than 55, however, there was little difference in migraine frequency between those who had abdominal obesity and those who didn't. And women older than 55 with abdominal obesity actually had a lower prevalence of migraines than their thinner-in-the-waist counterparts.

Abdominal, or visceral, fat is also associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and Type 2 diabetes.

"These results, while still in the early stages, suggest that losing weight in the stomach area may be beneficial for younger people who experience migraine and especially so for women," said study co-author B. Lee Peterlin, via a press elease. Peterlin is an assistant professor at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia.

The study will be presented at the upcoming annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in May.

-- Jeannine Stein

Photo: Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

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