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Sleep Deprivation, Sleep-Related Breathing Problems Raise Obesity Risk By Early Adolescence

Sleep-Disordered Breathing, Sleep Duration, and Childhood Overweight:
A Longitudinal Cohort Study

Karen Bonuck, PhD1
, Ronald D. Chervin, MD, MS2
, and Laura D. Howe, PhD3,4
Objectives To examine independent associations between sleep-disordered breathing (SDB), sleep duration
from birth through 6.75 years, and body mass index (BMI) through 15 years of age in a population-based cohort.
Study design The Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children collected parent questionnaire data on child
sleep duration and SDB symptoms from birth through 6.75 years and child BMI from the Avon Longitudinal Study of
Parents and Children research clinics (n = 1899). For SDB, logistic regression models—minimal, confounder, and
confounder + sleep duration adjusted—examined associations with BMI at 7, 10, and 15 years of age. For short sleep
duration (#10th percentile), comparable SDB-adjusted models examined associations with BMI at 15 years of age.
Results Children with the worst SDB symptoms vs asymptomatic children, had increased odds of overweight at 7
(OR = 2.08, 95% CI = 1.04-4.17), 10 (OR = 1.79, 95% CI = 1.02-3.16), and 15 years of age (OR = 2.25, 95% CI = 1.27-
3.97) in models adjusted for sleep duration. Similarly, short sleep duration at z5-6 years was associated with
overweight at 15 years, independent of SDB. Children with short sleep duration at 4.75 years were more likely to
be overweight at 15 years in minimally (OR = 2.21, 95% CI = 1.52-3.20), confounder (OR = 1.99, 95% CI = 1.34-
2.96), and SDB-adjusted (OR = 2.04, 95% CI = 1.36-3.04) models.
Conclusions Both SDB and short sleep duration significantly and independently increase children’s odds of
becoming overweight. Findings underscore the potential importance of early identification and remediation of
SDB, along with insufficient sleep, as strategies for reducing childhood obesity. (J Pediatr 2014;-:—).

Take home message:

Make sure your child is sleeping enough hours and if they have sleep apnea make sure it is treated immediately.

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