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Obesity is a condition classified as having a total body fat percentage of over 35% in females, and over 25% in males, according to the World Health Organization.1 

One can agree that both headache sufferers and people with obesity experience negative impacts of their conditions, not only at a personal level, but also their interpersonal relationships and work committments.

In a meta-anaylysis, researchers investigated the effects of weight loss on migraine frequency and intensity, either through surgical intervention or behavioural change. The results showed a significant association between weight loss and reduction in headache frequency, duration and intensity.

There has also been research which found that Australian women with a BMI (body mass index) of >27 were more likely to report having headaches than women with a BMI between 20-25.

How do I reduce weight to help with my headaches/migraines?

There are many ways in which you can reduce weight

  • Consider healthy food options
    • Speak to a dietitian to provide you with more information about healthy, nutritious foods
  • Be mindful of portion sizes
  • Break up your sedentary behaviour
    • The Australian Physical Activity and Sedentary Behaviour Guidelines tells us to:
      • Be active on most (preferably all) days every week
      • Perform muscle strengthening workouts at least twice a week
      • Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity
      • Accumulate 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity
    • Seek advice from a health professional (doctor, physiotherapist, exercise physiologist) to help you reach your goals

Losing weight can be difficult, but just remember that there are trained professionals who will assist you in your journey.

Apart from having less frequent headaches, there are many other benefits of weight loss, including having improvements in quality of life and social interactions.

 

 

References

Chai, N. C., Scher, A. I., Moghekar, A., Bond, D. S., & Peterlin, B. L. (2014). Obesity and headache: part I–a systematic review of the epidemiology of obesity and headache. Headache54(2), 219–234. doi:10.1111/head.12296

For migraine sufferers with obesity, losing weight can decrease headaches. (2019). Retrieved 17 October 2019, from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/03/190323145207.htm

Verrotti, A., Di Fonzo, A., Penta, L., Agostinelli, S., & Parisi, P. (2014). Obesity and headache/migraine: the importance of weight reduction through lifestyle modifications. BioMed research international2014, 420858. doi:10.1155/2014/420858