Sleep and Breathing

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 555–561 | Cite as

Sleep duration and body mass index in children and adolescents with and without obstructive sleep apnea

  • Marta Moraleda-Cibrián
  • Louise M. O’Brien
Original Article



The prevalence of pediatric obesity and short sleep duration has simultaneously increased in recent decades. Sleep plays a critical role in metabolic and endocrine regulation and insufficient sleep has been shown to be associated with changes in metabolism. Obesity, a major risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), has been also associated with metabolic dysregulation. Despite this, no study investigating short sleep and obesity has addressed the potential confounder of OSA. The aim of this study was to investigate the association between short sleep duration and obesity in children with and without OSA.


In this retrospective study, 306 children who underwent polysomnography between January and December 2010 were included. A diagnosis of OSA was made if the apnea/hypopnea index on polysomnography is ≥1. Typical sleep times were obtained by parental report. Short sleep duration was defined as a reduction of >1 h from the minimum total sleep time (TST) recommended for age from the National Sleep Foundation (NSF).


Overall, 32 % were obese, 39.5 % had short sleep duration, and 78 % had OSA. Children with OSA had a similar frequency of short sleep duration than those without (39.6 vs. 42.4 %, p = 0.950). In children with short sleep duration, the odds ratio for obesity was 2.5 (95 % CI 1.3–4.9; p = 0.009) compared to children with TST within normal limits even after accounting for the presence of OSA.


A parental history of total sleep duration of only 1 h less than recommended per age by the NSF is associated with a higher risk for obesity in children independently of the presence of OSA.


Obesity Childhood Sleep duration Obstructive sleep apnea 



Body mass index


Center for Disease Control and prevention


National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey


National Sleep Foundation


Obstructive sleep apnea




Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire


Sleep-disordered breathing


Total sleep time



This study and MMC were supported by the Fundació Universitària Agustí Pedro i Pons, University of Barcelona, Spain. LMO was supported in part by National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute R21 HL089918). Dr. O’Brien was also supported by a career grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (K23 HL095739) and in part by R21 HL087819.

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marta Moraleda-Cibrián
    • 1
    • 2
  • Louise M. O’Brien
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Sleep Disorders Center, Department of NeurologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Department of Oral and Maxillofacial SurgeryUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Michael S. Aldrich Sleep Disorders LaboratoryAnn ArborUSA

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