The current criteria for sleep-disordered breathing (SDB) in children are not based on a clinically relevant outcome. The purpose of this study was to assess the association of blood pressure with SDB in a random sample of the local elementary school children (kindergarten through grade 5) using a 2-phased strategy. During phase 1, a brief questionnaire was completed for all of the children (N=5740) with a response rate of 78.5%. During phase 2, 700 randomly selected children from phase 1 with a response rate of 70.0% were assessed with a full polysomnograph and a history/physical, including an ECG; ear, nose, and throat; and pulmonary evaluation. We observed a significantly elevated systolic blood pressure associated with the apnea hypopnea index (AHI): AHI >or=1 (2.9 mm Hg); AHI >or=3 (7.1 mm Hg); and AHI >or=5 (12.9 mm Hg). The SDB and blood pressure association remained significant after adjusting for age, sex, race, body mass index percentile or waist circumference, sleep efficiency, percentage of rapid eye movement sleep, and snoring. In addition, older age, body mass index percentile, waist circumference, and snoring were significantly associated with blood pressure, independent of SDB. Based on these findings, our study suggests that SDB is significantly associated with higher levels of systolic blood pressure in children aged 5 to 12 years even after adjusting for the various confounding factors. Clinically, the data support the threshold of AHI >or=5 for the initiation of treatment for SDB. Additional research is indicated to assess the efficacy of SDB treatment on reducing blood pressure.