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Teen Health Habits Increase Headache Risk

Drinking alcohol or caffeine, smoking and a lack of exercise are bad for adolescents for yet another reason—they’re all implicated in higher rates of migraine and tension-type headache. According to a German study of 1,260 high school students, the prevalence of any type of headache increased in those who drank cocktails or coffee or were less physically active. High consumption of cocktails increased the odds the most—by three and a half times—while increasing intake of fluids did not lessen the impact. Surprisingly, neither skipping meals nor dehydration were associated with headache.

Smoking, on the other hand, was associated with a higher prevalence of combined migraine and tension-type headache. Coffee and physical inactivity were particularly linked with migraine.

“Our study confirms that adolescents with any type of headache might benefit from regular physical activity and low consumption of alcoholic drinks,” said Astrid Milde-Busch, PhD, a researcher at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich. “In teens suffering from migraine, a low coffee consumption should also be suggested.”

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