Associations of obesity, sleep-disordered breathing, and wheezing in children

Am J Respir Crit Care Med. 2005 Mar 15;171(6):659-64. doi: 10.1164/rccm.200403-398OC. Epub 2004 Dec 10.


Although it has been speculated that rising asthma rates may be partly due to increasing obesity, the causal mechanisms that relate these conditions are unclear. We assessed the extent to which sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) may explain associations between obesity and wheezing/asthma. A total of 788 participants (aged 8-11 years) in a community-based cohort study were classified according to two outcomes: wheezing and asthma. Sleep apnea was defined as an increased number of apneas and hypopneas on overnight monitoring. SDB was identified on the basis of either sleep apnea or habitual snoring. Multiple logistic regression models showed that children with wheeze were significantly more likely to be male (odds ratio [OR] 1.62; confidence interval [CI] 1.15, 2.29), black (OR 1.90; CI 1.35, 2.29), obese (OR 1.57; CI 1.10, 2.44), and have a maternal history of asthma (OR 1.93; CI 1.16, 3.22). Further adjustment for SDB attenuated the association between obesity and wheeze (OR 1.45; CI 0.93, 2.26), but did not substantially alter the association between obesity and asthma. We conclude that SDB and obesity each are associated with asthma and wheeze. The relationship between obesity and wheeze may be partly mediated by factors associated with SDB.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Asthma / complications
  • Asthma / physiopathology*
  • Body Height
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Obesity / complications
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Respiratory Sounds / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / physiopathology*
  • Spirometry