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Obese Kids Who Snore More Sleepy During Daytime

by The Kid's Doctor Staff

Obese children who have difficulty breathing while they sleep have more daytime sleepiness compared to slimmer children who are also chronic snorers.

A study out in the January 2009 issue of Pediatrics says the symptoms in heavy children are “strikingly reminiscent of excessive daytime sleepiness patters in adults with obstructive sleep apnea.” The findings by Drs. David Gozal and Lelia Kheirandish-Gozal of the University of Louisville in Kentucky suggest that obstructive sleep apnea looks different in obese children than it does in children with normal weight. The findings could have implications for both how the condition is treated and how it ultimately affects organ function.

50 obese children and 50 normal-weight 6- to 9-year-olds were observed in a sleep lab and then assessed with a test that measured the time it took the children to fall asleep during the day. On average, the obese children took nearly 13 minutes to fall asleep compared with nearly 18 minutes for the non-obese children.

Researchers say the results suggest that sleep fragmentation may be more common in obese children and that a lack of oxygen during sleep may play a significant role in triggering the biological response that can lead to increased daytime sleepiness.

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