So when the report came out in February about migraine and people’s waistlines, the media was all over it. I’m afraid this is another case when a tiny bit of news became something way too big.
Here’s the story. Researchers studied 22,211 people who were asked to report on their headaches or migraine attacks. Then they compared those stats with total body obesity, and waist circumference or abdominal obesity.
Those 20-55 years of age were more likely to have migraine attacks if they had larger waistlines or more abdominal fat. This was especially true for women.
The twist was that women over 55 had fewer migraine attacks when they had larger waistlines.
Strange, yes. But maybe not such a dramatic discovery.
First, the percentages weren’t drastic as you might think. For example, 37% of women 20-55 with excess abdominal fat reported migraine, while only 29% without body fat did. A significant difference, but not dramatic.
Next, there’s really a lot we don’t know about this study. A press release came out in anticipation of the full report, which we can look forward to around the end of April. The information we have so far really does raise a lot of questions.
Finally, we have no idea how to interpret these results. Does this mean we should try to lose abdominal fat until we’re 55, then try to gain it? Or do people with migraine normally have more fat around the waistline because of the biological functions of migraine?
Researchers are trying to target risk factors of migraine. This may make the study valuable in the long run. But for now, stay active and don’t get too obsessed about your waist.