June 24, 2019
2 min read

Food insecurity linked to migraine in young adults

You've successfully added to your alerts. You will receive an email when new content is published.

Click Here to Manage Email Alerts

We were unable to process your request. Please try again later. If you continue to have this issue please contact customerservice@slackinc.com.

Food insecurity was tied to a higher prevalence of migraine in young adults, according to a research letter published in JAMA Neurology.

“One in six individuals are affected by migraine, which is inversely associated with household income; however, little is known about the association between food insecurity and migraine, particularly in the United States and among young adults,” Jason M. Nagata, MD, MSc, of the department of pediatrics at the University of California, San Francisco, and colleagues wrote. “Young adulthood represents an important period distinct from adolescence and older adulthood, when economic and educational transitions may increase risk for food insecurity.”

Researchers analyzed cross-sectional, nationally representative data of young adults in the United States aged 24 to 32 from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health. Participants who indicated during a study interview that they had been concerned their food would run out before they had enough money to buy more in the last year were considered food insecure. Those with migraine were identified after affirming in an interview that they had been told by a health care worker that they have or had migraine headaches.

A total of 14,786 young adults with a mean age of 28.1 were included in the study sample. Researchers found that 11% of young adults were food insecure.

Young Person with Headache
Food insecurity was tied to a higher prevalence of migraine in young adults, according to a research letter published in JAMA Neurology.
Source: Adobe Stock

Young adults who were food insecure had a higher prevalence of migraine than those who were not food insecure (23.9% vs 13.6%; P < .001). In addition, young adults who were food insecure had greater unadjusted (OR = 2.00; 95% CI, 1.68-2.38) and adjusted (adjusted OR = 1.58; 95% CI, 1.3-1.95) odds of migraine.

Researchers noted that physicians should consider screening for food insecurity in patients with migraine and refer those who are food insecure to assistance programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

“Food insecurity may lead directly to missed meals and indirectly to psychological stress, depression and poor sleep, which are common precipitants of migraine,” Nagata and colleagues wrote. “Conversely, frequent, chronic migraine may contribute to food insecurity by preventing attendance at work, lower productivity, and/or lost employment and may also result in a reduced ability to perform household activities such as shopping and cooking.”– by Erin Michael

Disclosures: The authors report no relevant financial disclosures.