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Unhealthy habits boost headaches

Frequent headaches and migraines are three times more likely to affect teenagers who lead unhealthy lifestyles, research has revealed.

Headaches are 3.4 times more likely to be experienced by those who get little exercise, are overweight or who smoke, than those who lead healthier lives.

More than half of those with all three negative factors suffered headaches or migraines in contrast to just a quarter of teens with healthier habits.

Teenagers who have two of the bad lifestyle factors were 1.8 times more likely to be affected while there was a 40% risk of headaches in teenagers who were overweight.

Frequent headaches were 50% more likely in smokers and 20% more likely if teenagers exercised less than twice a week compared to those who had no negative factors and exercised at least two times weekly.

Treating and preventing headaches in teenagers could include encouraging them to undertake regular exercise and better food habits and getting them to stop smoking, report author Dr John-Anker Zwart, of the University of Oslo, said.

The study was published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

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American Academy of Neurology