The goal of this study was to characterize sleep and respiratory parameters in children with sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) as compared to children without SDB. Data are from 198 children and adolescents referred for sleep center evaluation, 128 of whom were diagnosed with SDB. In children with SDB, obesity (> 95% wgt for age) was more common than being severely underweight (< 5% wgt for age), but only the older children with SDB were heavier than age-matched normal sleepers. Children with SDB had increased EEG arousals; sleep architecture was not otherwise significantly different from the non-SDB group. African-American children with SDB had significantly greater oxygen desaturation with obstructive events compared to Caucasian and Latino children. It appears that the role of obesity as a risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) increases in children above the age of 8-years. Additionally, African-American children with SDB may be at increased risk for hypoxemia and cardiovascular consequences of SDB.