Childhood Snoring Linked To Early Obesity and Diabetes Risk

In a new longterm study, researchers at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) found a bidirectional link between snoring and body weight in children. This means each of the conditions - snoring and excess body weight - increases risk for the other over time.

The study followed 1,100 children from gestation through early adolescence, and looked at the relationships among maternal and childhood snoring, the children’s body mass index (BMI), and insulin resistance.

“Our findings confirm the existence of a physiologic loop between worsening obesity and worsening sleep [disturbance], which in turn leads to worsening obesity and higher risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease later in life,” said Christos S. Mantzoros, M.D., DSc, Director of the Human Nutrition Unit in the Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes, and Metabolism at BIDMC.

Data for the research came from Project Viva, a study that enrolled expectant mothers who then filled out annual questionnaires. Their children had blood samples and measurements taken at 7 and 13 years of age. The information gathered included sleep habits, body mass, glucose, and cholesterol levels, and insulin resistance.

Analysis of the data showed that while maternal snoring did not effect offspring, children who snored were at substantially greater risk for developing obesity in late childhood, or adolescence. Further, biomarkers put them at higher risk for the onset of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease later on.

“These results suggest that in children, early interventions including both targeted weight loss and appropriate treatments for [snoring/sleep apnea] are critical to breaking this vicious cycle between poor sleep and obesity in order to prevent chronic disease later in life,” said Mantzoros, also a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School, and chief of the Endocrinology Section at the VA Boston Healthcare System.

The study findings were published in the journal Metabolism.

Source: BIDMC News
Photo credit: Gilberto Santa Rosa

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