This study was conducted to examine the association between breakfast consumption pattern and primary headaches in a large population of university students.
This cross-sectional study was done on the MEPHASOUS dataset that contained the information of 83,677 university students, aged ≥18 years, from 28 provinces of Iran. Dietary intakes and breakfast consumption pattern were assessed using a validated self-administered dietary habits questionnaire. Primary headaches were determined according to the International Classification of Headache Disorders-3 (ICHD-3) criteria. Binary logistic regression in different adjusted models was used to assess the association between breakfast consumption and primary headaches.
The mean age of participants was 21.50 ± 4.01. Primary headaches were prevalent among 9% of university students. A significant inverse association was seen between breakfast consumption and odds of primary headaches [odds ratio (OR): 0.57, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.51-0.62]. This association remained significant even after taking potential confounders into account; such that students who consumed breakfast frequently had 26% lower odds of primary headaches compared with those who consumed it <1 day/week (OR: 0.74, 95% CI: 0.65-0.85). Moreover, such a significant inverse association was observed in female students (OR: 0.54, 95% CI: 0.49-0.61) as well as those with BMI < 25 kg/m (OR: 0.68, 95% CI: 0.58-0.79). However, it became non-significant in male students and those with overweight or obesity.
We found that frequent breakfast consumption is associated with a decreased odds of primary headaches in female students and those with BMI < 25 kg/m. Further prospective studies are needed to confirm our findings.