Obesity and Migraine in Childhood

Tal Eidlitz Markus, Irene Toldo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Purpose of Review: The purpose of this work was to review the current literature on the epidemiology and pathophysiology of pediatric obesity and migraine, underlying pathogenic mechanisms that may explain the association between the two disorders, and the effects of treatment. Recent Findings: In children and adolescents, the bulk of the available data support an association between obesity and headache disorders in general, though a small number of studies contradict these findings. Relative to the adult population, however, few studies have focused specifically on migraine, and no wide-ranging meta-analyses have been conducted to date. It seems that the pathophysiology of obesity and migraine in adults holds true for the pediatric population as well. The association between obesity and migraine in the pediatric population is likely to be multifactorial and to involve both central and peripheral mechanisms. More attention is currently being addressed to the role of the hypothalamus and the bioactive neurotransmitters and neuropeptides that modulate energy homeostasis, namely serotonin, orexin, and the adiponectins, in migraine. A few innovative studies have demonstrated some benefit for migraine from weight reduction treatments such as exercise and lifestyle management. Summary: Many open questions remain regarding the modifiable nature of the obesity–migraine relationship and its implications in clinical practice. Further studies of these issues are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number42
JournalCurrent Pain and Headache Reports
Issue number6
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2018


  • Adolescent
  • Children
  • Migraine
  • Obesity


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