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Teenage headaches linked to lifestyle

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Treatment for teenagers who regularly have headaches and migraines should focus on healthy eating, quitting smoking and doing regular exercise, an expert has said.

A study by the University of Oslo’s Dr John-Anker Zwart found that youngsters who do little exercise, smoke and are overweight are 3.4 times more likely to suffer recurring headaches than peers with no “negative lifestyle factors”.

Some 55% of teenagers who practice all three negative factors have frequent headaches, compared with 25% of those who follow a healthier pattern.

Headaches are 1.8 times more likely if a youngster combines two of the three factors, and 40% more common for those who are overweight.

Smokers appear 50% more likely to have headaches, while teenagers who exercise less than twice a week have 20% more chance of having regular headaches compared with those who work out at least twice a week, do not smoke and are not overweight.

In the study published in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, Dr Zwart said treatment and prevention could feature management of healthy habits such as regular exercise, healthy eating and stopping smoking.

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