Body mass index and migraine in adolescence: A nationwide study

Yair Zloof, Avishai M. Tsur, Maya Simchoni, Estela Derazne, Dorit Tzur, Asaf Honig, Maya Braun, Esther Ganelin-Cohen, Gil Amarilyo, Orit Pinhas-Hamiel, Arnon Afek, Gilad Twig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The association between body mass index (BMI) and migraine in adults has been well established. However, studies in children and adolescents are inconclusive. We aimed to study the association between BMI and migraine using a national dataset that comprises the electronic medical records of more than two million adolescents. METHODS: This study included all Israeli adolescents (57.7% males, 42.3% females; mean age 17 years) who were medically assessed before mandatory military service during 1990-2020. As part of the pre-recruitment medical assessment, all the adolescents were screened for migraine and their height and weight were measured. Diagnoses of migraine were confirmed by board-certified neurologists. Prevalences and odds ratios (ORs) for migraine were computed across BMI subgroups. Spline models were applied. RESULTS: A total of 2,094,862 adolescents were included, of whom 57,385 (2.8%) had active migraine. Among males, the adjusted ORs for migraine were 1.11 (95% confidence interval, 1.06-1.16), 1.13 (1.08-1.17), and 1.24 (1.19-1.30), for the underweight, overweight, and obesity subgroups, respectively, compared to the reference group of low-normal BMI (5th-49th percentile). Among females, the respective adjusted ORs were 1.12 (1.05-1.19), 1.23 (1.19-1.28), and 1.38 (1.31-1.46). Results persisted in sensitivity analyses accounting for other medical and psychiatric comorbidities and parental history of migraine. Spline models demonstrated a J-shaped relation between BMI and migraine. CONCLUSIONS: Both adolescent obesity and underweight were associated with migraine in a sex-dependent manner. This association peaked in female adolescents with overweight and obesity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3331024231209309
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2023


  • body mass index
  • Migraine
  • obesity


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