Obesity and Migraine: Effect Modification by Gender and Perceived Stress

Neuroepidemiology. 2018 51(1-2):25-32

Andreeva VA, Fezeu LK, Hercberg S, Galan P.


The association between obesity and migraine has been established; however, it is unclear whether it varies by perceived stress within each gender.


This cross-sectional study used data from the ongoing NutriNet-Santé e-cohort with enrollees from the general population. Anthropometric and migraine data were provided via self-report questionnaires (2013-2016). Migraine was defined using established criteria. Perceived stress was assessed with Cohen's Perceived Stress Scale-10. Associations were estimated via gender- and stress-stratified multivariable polytomous logistic regression models.


Among 32,835 participants with complete data (75% women; mean age = 51.9 ± 13.8 years), 34% reported no headache, 44% non-migraine headache, and 22% migraine with or without aura during one's lifetime. In these groups, obesity was present in 8.6, 9.9, and 11.6%, respectively. Stress was a significant moderator of the obesity-migraine association only among women. The largest significant adjusted odds ratio (aOR) was found between obesity and migraine in women with high stress (aOR 1.61, 95% CI 1.35-1.91).


We found support for gender- and stress-dependent associations between obesity and migraine using a large, heterogeneous adult sample. This underscores the need for evidence-based strategies for weight loss and stress reduction for female migraineurs.