Date of Award


Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Degree Name

Bachelor of Health Science (Honours)


School of Nursing

First Supervisor

Anne McMurray

Second Supervisor

Amanda Blackmore

Third Supervisor

Stephen Simpson


Headaches in adolescents present school nurses with a challenge. Al though separate research has focussed on headaches in children, and on dietary and exercises practices of adolescents, little attention has been paid to the relationship between the two. The purpose of this study was to investigate whether adolescents' dietary and exercise practices affect the occurrence of their headaches. The randomly selected sample consisted of 97 adolescents, aged 12 to 15 years, from a Perth metropolitan high school. Males accounted for 28%. Of respondents, and females 72%.. The average age was 13.5 years. All students taking part in the study were required to complete an 18-item questionnaire, which surveyed frequency of headaches, dietary knowledge and behaviour, and exercise knowledge and behaviour. The data, collected between class times, showed that a large number of students reported headaches; dietary knowledge and behaviour were poor; and exercise knowledge and behav1our were good. All responses were anonymous. The study showed no evidence of a relationship between headaches and diet, or between headaches and exercise. The major implication for nursing practice is that the school nurse should carefully document all assessment data relating to headaches in order to build a comprehensive information base from which to deduce hypotheses for study. Future research which follows from the study should address the development of headaches as a consequence of varying levels of exercise and dietary intake, as well as the relationship between perceived stress and headaches.

Included in

Nursing Commons