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Kids who vape or skip meals may be giving themselves a headache

Photo: MoMo Productions/gettyimages

Healthier habits may help prevent headaches among children and teens who use e-cigarettes or skip breakfast or other meals, researchers say.

University of Calgary researchers analyzed survey results from around 5 million 5- to 17-year-olds in Canada. Respondents were asked whether they had headaches over the past six months and, if so, how often.

The survey also asked questions about meals, screen time, sleep hours and other lifestyle factors. Kids between the ages of 12 and 17 also answered questions about substance use and exposure.

Overall, 6.1% had headaches more than once a week. However, the researchers found that various lifestyle choices were associated with headache risk. For example, kids who ate breakfast regularly and often ate dinner with their families had an 8% lower risk of frequent headaches.

The respondents ages 12-17 who used e-cigarettes daily were twice as likely to have frequent headaches compared with those who never used them.

“It is not uncommon for children and teens to have headaches,” said study author Serena Orr of the University of Calgary and the American Academy of Neurology. “And while medications are used to stop and sometimes prevent headaches, lifestyle changes may also offer an effective route to relief by preventing headaches from happening and improving quality of life.”

The study was published online in AAN’s journal Neurology.

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