Childhood obesity and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome

Raanan Arens, Hiren Muzumdar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

139 Scopus citations


The increasing prevalence of obesity in children seems to be associated with an increased prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) in children. Possible pathophysiological mechanisms contributing to this association include the following: adenotonsillar hypertrophy due to increased somatic growth, increased critical airway closing pressure, altered chest wall mechanics and abnormalities of ventilatory control. However, the details of these mechanisms and their interactions have not been elucidated. In addition, obesity and OSAS are both associated with metabolic syndrome, which is a constellation of features such as hypertension, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia, abdominal obesity and prothrombotic and proinflammatory states. There is some evidence that OSAS may contribute to the progression of metabolic syndrome with a potential for significant morbidity. The treatment of OSAS in obese children has not been standardized. Adenotonsillectomy is considered the primary intervention followed by continuous positive airway pressure treatment if OSAS persists. Other methods such as oral appliances, surgery, positional therapy and weight loss may be beneficial for individual subjects. The present review discusses these issues and suggests an approach to the management of obese children with snoring and possible OSAS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)436-444
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of applied physiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010


  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Sleep-disordered breathing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)


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