Body Fat Composition: A Predictive Factor for Sleep Related Breathing Disorder in Obese Children

J Clin Sleep Med. 2015 Sep 15;11(9):1039-45. doi: 10.5664/jcsm.5022.


Introduction: The association between body fat composition as measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) scanning and pediatric sleep related breathing disorder (SRBD) is not well established. We investigated the relationship between body mass index (BMI) and DEXA parameters and their association with SRBD in obese children.

Patients and methods: Overnight polysomnography was performed on obese/overweight children (10-17 years) with habitual snoring. Total body fat mass (g), trunk fat mass (g), total body % fat, and trunk % fat were determined by DEXA.

Results: Forty-one subjects were studied. Logarithm (Log) total arousal index correlated with BMI (p < 0.01, r = 0.473), total body fat mass (p < 0.05, r = 0.331), and trunk fat mass (p < 0.05, r = 0.319). Log desaturation index correlated with BMI (p < 0.05, r = 0.313), total body fat mass (p < 0.05, r = 0.375), and trunk fat mass (p < 0.05, r = 0.391), whereas obstructive apnea hypopnea index (OAHI) did not. In males 10-12 years, there was a significant correlation between Log total arousal index and obesity parameters, but not for males aged 13-17 years. BMI correlated with DEXA parameters in all subjects: total body fat mass (p < 0.001, r = 0.850); total body % fat (p < 0.01, r = 0.425); trunk fat mass (p < 0.001, r = 0.792) and trunk % fat (p < 0.05, r = 0.318) and in 10-12 year old males. This relationship was not significant in males aged 13-17 years.

Conclusions: Total body fat mass and trunk fat mass as well as BMI correlated with total arousal index and desaturation index. BMI correlated with DEXA parameters in 10-12 year old males but not in 13-17 year old males. The value of using DEXA scanning to study the relationship between obesity and SRBD may depend on age and pubertal stage.

Keywords: DEXA scan; body fat composition; body mass index; pediatric obesity; pediatric obstructive sleep apnea; sleep related breathing disorder.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adipose Tissue*
  • Adolescent
  • Body Composition*
  • Body Mass Index
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / complications*
  • Polysomnography
  • Risk Factors
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Sleep Apnea Syndromes / complications*