Lifestyle, Behaviors Affect Headache Risk in Adolescents

Alcohol, coffee drinking, smoking and physical inactivity all associated with headaches
By Jeff Muise
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, June 9 (HealthDay News) -- High consumption of alcoholic drinks, coffee drinking, smoking, and lack of physical activity are all associated with headaches in adolescents, according to a study published online June 7 in Headache.

Astrid Milde-Busch, Ph.D., and colleagues at the Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich, Germany, administered a questionnaire to 1,260 high-school students, aged 14 to 20, to elicit information on the frequency of headache, headache symptoms, and lifestyle factors and behaviors, such as diet, drinking, smoking, and exercise. The headaches were categorized as tension-type headache, migraine headache, or migraine plus tension-type headache.

The researchers found the students were at higher risk for migraine plus tension-type headache if they reported a high consumption of cocktails (odds ratio [OR], 3.4), high consumption of coffee (OR, 2.4), smoking (OR, 2.7), or lack of physical activity (OR, 2.2). Further, coffee consumption and physical inactivity were particularly associated with migraine (OR, 3.4 and 4.2, respectively), and physical inactivity was associated with tension-type headache (OR, 1.7).

"Adolescents with any type of headache might benefit from regular physical activity and low consumption of alcoholic drinks, while for migraine patients a low consumption of coffee should additionally be recommended. Intervention studies are warranted to assess whether psycho-educational programs conferring knowledge of these associations will influence headache-triggering behavior and headache in adolescents," the authors write.

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