Food insecurity was significantly associated with migraine prevalence in young adults, according to Jason M. Nagata, MD, of the University of California, San Francisco, and associates.

Data were collected from a cross-sectional, nationally representative set of 14,786 young adults in the United States aged 24-32 years who participated in the 2008 National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health, the investigators wrote in a research letter published in JAMA Neurology.

Food insecurity was assessed by self-report through the interview question, “In the past 12 months, was there a time when (you/your household were/was) worried whether food would run out before you would get money to buy more?” Migraine was assessed by a positive answer to the interview question, “Has a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional ever told you that you have or had migraine headaches?”

In all, 1,647 study participants (11%) reported food insecurity; the prevalence of migraine in this group was 23.9%, compared with a prevalence of 13.6% in participants who did not report food insecurity. The association between food insecurity and migraine was significant both before (odds ratio, 2.00; 95% confidence interval, 1.68-2.38; P less than .001) and after adjustment (adjusted OR, .58; 95% CI, 1.30-1.95; P less than .001).

“Health care clinicians caring for persons who experience migraine should consider screening for food insecurity as a potential contributor to migraine exacerbations and provide referrals to programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program [formerly the Food Stamp Program] when appropriate,” the investigators concluded (JAMA Neurol. 2019 Jun 24. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2019.1663).

No conflicts of interest were reported. The study was supported by grants from the University of California Global Food Initiative Fellowship, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Pediatric Society, and the Norman Schlossberger Research Fund from the University of California.