Symptoms related to sleep-disordered breathing in white and Hispanic children: the Tucson Children's Assessment of Sleep Apnea Study

Chest. 2003 Jul;124(1):196-203. doi: 10.1378/chest.124.1.196.


Study objectives: The Tucson Children's Assessment of Sleep Apnea (TuCASA) study is designed to investigate the prevalence and correlates of objectively measured sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in preadolescent children. This article describes the parental report of sleep symptoms associated with SDB in Hispanic and white children.

Design: A 13-question sleep habits screening questionnaire designed to assess the severity of sleep-related symptoms associated with SDB in children 4 to 11 years of age.

Setting: Questionnaires were completed by the parents of children attending elementary school in the Tucson Unified School District, Tucson, AZ.

Participants: There were 1,494 questionnaires returned, which comprised a sample of whites (38%), Hispanics (45%), and other races (17%). Of these questionnaires, 1,214 were returned for the children of white (45.8%; 556 children) or Hispanic (54.2%; 658 children) ethnicity only. The primary analysis was completed on these 613 boys (50.5%) and 601 girls (49.5%).

Results: In the total sample of 1,494 children, parents were more likely to report excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) in female children than in male children (p <.01), however, this association did not achieve significance in the sample of only white and Hispanic children (p <.07). Composite variables for EDS and witnessed apnea (WITAP) show that parents of Hispanic children were more likely to report EDS (p <.01) and WITAP (p <.007). Hispanic children were also more likely to have learning problems (LPs) [p <.03] and to snore frequently (SN) [p <.02] than were white children. There were no significant differences between boys and girls for SN or WITAP. Hispanic boys were more likely to have reports of EDS (p <.02) and LPs (p <.04) than white boys, however, there were no other significant differences in gender or ethnicity in reports of EDS or LPs for white or Hispanic boys and girls. Those children with frequent LPs were significantly more likely to have SN (p <.001), EDS (p <.001), and WITAP (p <.001). A logistic regression model predicting LP resulted in significant adjusted odds ratios (ORs) of 2.4 for SN, 2.5 for EDS, and 2.1 for children aged 8 to 11 years. A similar model for EDS resulted in significant adjusted ORs of 3.2 for SN, 5.7 for WITAP, and 1.6 for female gender. Ethnicity was not significant in either model.

Conclusions: Hispanic children in the population-based TuCASA study experienced more frequent symptoms associated with SDB, such as SN, EDS, WITAP, and LPs, than did white children. Children with LPs are 2.4 times more likely to have SN, 2.5 times more likely to have EDS, and were 2.1 times more likely to be between the ages of 8 and 11 years. Children with EDS were 3.2 times more likely to have SN, 5.7 times more likely to have WITAP, and were 1.6 times more likely to be a girl.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arizona / epidemiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Disorders of Excessive Somnolence / ethnology
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino*
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities / ethnology
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Parents
  • Prevalence
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / diagnosis
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / ethnology*
  • Snoring / ethnology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • White People