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


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.


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 ≈5-6 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.


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.


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