Sleep fragmentation and intermittent hypoxemia are associated with decreased insulin sensitivity in obese adolescent Latino males

Pediatr Res. 2012 Sep;72(3):293-8. doi: 10.1038/pr.2012.73. Epub 2012 Jun 5.


Background: Although sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD) has been linked to insulin resistance in adults, this has not been as well established in children. We hypothesized that the severity of SRBD in adolescents was associated with metabolic impairment.

Methods: Polysomnography was performed on obese, Latino males referred for snoring. The frequently sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test was used to assess glucose homeostasis. Total-body dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry was used to quantify adiposity.

Results: A total of 22 males (mean age ± SD: 13.4 ± 2.1 y, BMI z-score 2.4 ± 0.3, obstructive apnea hypopnea index 4.1 ± 3.2) were studied. After correcting for age and adiposity in multiple-regression models, Log frequency of desaturation (defined as ≥3% drop in oxygen saturation from baseline) negatively correlated with insulin sensitivity. Sleep efficiency was positively correlated with glucose effectiveness (S(G), the capacity of glucose to mediate its own disposal). The Log total arousal index was positively correlated with Log homeostasis model assessment-estimated insulin resistance.

Conclusion: Sleep fragmentation and intermittent hypoxemia are associated with metabolic impairment in obese adolescent Latino males independent of age and adiposity. We speculate that SRBD potentiates the risk for development of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes in the obese adolescent population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Hispanic Americans*
  • Humans
  • Hypoxia / physiopathology*
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Male
  • Obesity / physiopathology*
  • Polysomnography
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / physiopathology*