WESTCHESTER, Ill. In Australian children who snore, obesity, not age, is a significant, but only weak, predictor of upper airway obstruction during sleep, according to a study published in the April 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine (JCSM).
The study, authored by Mark Kohler and colleagues at the University of Adelaide, focused on 190 children between four and 12 years of age, who were referred for evaluation of upper airway obstruction and underwent one night of polysomnography, or a sleep test that monitors the brain, eye movements, muscle activity, heart rhythm, and breathing. The children were classified as Infrequent Snorers, Habitual Snorers or with Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS).
According to the results, the association between body mass and upper airway obstruction severity was not significantly influenced by age; however, the contribution of body mass to upper airway obstruction amongst Caucasian children was much milder than typically found amongst African-American children, and similar to Asian children. Another important finding was that, although more frequently reported amongst younger children, the incidence of central apneas during sleep was also associated with increasing body weight.
There has been a dramatic rise in the incidence of childhood obesity during the last decade, which, in addition to a range of other health concerns, may be placing greater numbers of children at risk of OSAS, said Kohler. A careful inspection of the previous literature suggests factors that may not have been considered in analyses, such as age and ethnicity of a child, are important determinants of the strength of the relationship between body mass and upper airway obstruction during sleep. These findings suggest that, while the increasing rate of obesity amongst children is alarming, it may be a more critical determinant of upper airway obstruction amongst certain races only. In addition, central respira
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American Academy of Sleep Medicine