Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), typically manifested as snoring, is closely associated with obesity. However, the directionality of associations of OSA with cardiometabolic risk markers is unclear, as obesity increases risk for OSA, and OSA results in excess weight gain and its metabolic consequences. Less is known about how obesity and OSA may relate in children and adolescents and whether maternal OSA may influence the development of obesity and cardiometabolic dysfunction in offspring.
Among 1078 children from the Project Viva cohort, we examined cross-sectionally and prospectively associations of parent-reported child or maternal snoring with cardiometabolic outcomes, including adiposity, adipokines, and insulin resistance.
Cross-sectionally, child snoring was related to adiposity and metabolic risk, particularly body mass index (BMI; β 0.61kg/m(2), 95% CI 0.33, 0.89; p<0.001), trunk fat mass index (β 0.23kg/m(2), CI 0.12, 0.34; p<0.001), high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (β -1.47mg/dL, CI -2.69, -0.25; p=0.02), and metabolic risk z-score (β 0.08, CI 0.02, 0.14; p=0.01) after correction for covariates. Prospectively, adiposity (BMI, trunk fat, fat mass, and waist circumference) and cardiometabolic (leptin, HOMA-IR, CRP, and global metabolic risk) measures at mid-childhood (~7y) were associated with child snoring at the early teen visit (~12y) after correction for covariates. Child snoring at ~9y was related to changes in adiposity between mid-childhood and early teen visits.
Child but not maternal snoring, was related to child adiposity and cardiometabolic outcomes. Adiposity and child snoring are associated with each other cross-sectionally and are each predictive of the other among children/adolescents prospectively. These results suggest similar mechanisms in pediatric/adolescent populations as in adults for the development of sleep-disordered breathing and sleep apnea that will need to be confirmed in randomized clinical trials. Importantly, this research points to the need to target both sleep and obesity in order to break this vicious cycle.