Dietary and physical activity patterns in children with obstructive sleep apnea

J Pediatr. 2010 May;156(5):724-30, 730.e1-730.e3. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2009.11.010. Epub 2010 Feb 6.


Objective: To assess dietary and physical activity patterns and morning circulating blood levels of the orexigenic hormones ghrelin and visfatin in children with either obesity, obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), or both conditions.

Study design: In this cross-sectional design, 5- to 9-year-old participants (n = 245) from the community were identified. After overnight polysomnography, caregivers filled out a food and physical activity questionnaire, and the child underwent a fasting blood draw for ghrelin and visfatin plasma levels.

Results: Compared with control subjects, obese children with OSA ate 2.2-times more fast food, ate less healthy food such as fruits and vegetables, and were 4.2-times less frequently involved in organized sports. OSA was positively correlated with plasma ghrelin levels (R(2), 0.73; P < .0001), but not visfatin levels, particularly when obesity was present.

Conclusion: OSA and obesity in children may adversely impact dietary preferences and may be particularly detrimental to daily physical activity patterns. Furthermore, increased ghrelin levels support the presence of increased appetite and caloric intake in obese patients with OSA, which in turn may further promote the severity of the underlying conditions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Appetite
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Diet*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Ghrelin / blood
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase / blood
  • Obesity / blood
  • Obesity / complications
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / blood
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / physiopathology*


  • Ghrelin
  • Nicotinamide Phosphoribosyltransferase