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Nutr Hosp. 2013 Jul-Aug;28(4):1115-20. doi: 10.3305/nh.2013.28.4.6504.

Body mass index, abdominal obesity, body fat and migraine features in women.

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Food and Nutrition Research Center, Hospital de Clínicas de Porto Alegre, Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil.


in English, Spanish


Studies seeking to establish an association between migraine and anthropometric parameters have thus far been inconclusive. Furthermore, drugs used for migraine prophylaxis may be associated with changes in body weight.


To investigate the potential association of anthropometric parameters and body fat percentage with attack patterns and use of prophylactic medication in migraineurs.


Cross-sectional study that assessed the body mass index, waist circumference, body fat percentage and related clinical variables (characteristics of attacks and the use of prophylactic medication) in female outpatients with migraine.


166 female migraineurs aged ≥18 years (mean age, 45 ± 14 years) were included in the study. Migraine without aura was most prevalent (71.7%). Mean body mass index and body fat percentage were 27.8±6.0 kg/m² and 36.4 ± 8.3% respectively. Body mass index and waist circumference were weakly correlated with frequency of attacks over 6 months (rs = 0.162, p < 0.05 and rs = 0.187, p < 0.05 respectively). These correlations remains weak considering only premenopausal women, but disappear in the older women. Stratification of analysis by migraine type field shows a moderate correlation between migraine with aura and frequency of attacks over 6 months and body mass index (rs = 0.369, p < 0.05), as well as waist circumference (rs = 0.423, p < 0.01). Patients who were on prophylactic medication had higher body mass index, waist circumference, and body fat percentage values (p < 0.01, Student t-test).


This study revealed a potential, though tenuous association between migraine and anthropometric parameters and frequency of attacks, which does not reflect on the duration, severity, and disability of attacks, with patterns differing by migraine type, reproductive age and prophylactic medication.

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