Restless Legs Syndrome and Poor Sleep Quality in Obese Children and Adolescents

J Clin Res Pediatr Endocrinol. 2018 Jun 1;10(2):131-138. doi: 10.4274/jcrpe.5165. Epub 2017 Nov 24.


Objective: Adult epidemiological studies suggest that the rate of Restless Legs syndrome (RLS) in the general population may range from 5% to 15%. The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of RLS in a community sample of obese adolescents aged 10-16 years and to assess the association with sleep quality and health-related glucose metabolism markers.

Methods: The study group comprised 144 obese and overweight children aged 10-16 yearsand the control group consisted of 66 age-matched healthy children. The RLS Questionnaire devised by the International RLS Study and the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), where a score >5 indicates poor sleep quality, was used to assess sleep quality.

Results: Mean body mass index (BMI) of the overweight/obese and control groups were 30.5±0.5 and 18.7±0.2, respectively. The frequency of RLS was higher in the obese group (21.7%) than the overweight (3.4%) and control (1.5%) (p<0.001) groups. The frequency of a poor PSQI score was significantly higher (p<0.001) in the obese group (37.3%) than the control group (24.2%). The obese with RLS group also had poorer sleep quality scores than the non-RLS obese group. Many symptoms of sleep disruption were more common in obese patients with RLS and RLS was independently correlated with a high PSQI score [odds ratio (OR): 2.25, confidence interval (Cl): 0.96-5.28, p<0.001)] and an increased BMI z-score (OR: 8.87, Cl: 2.04-38.61, p<0.001).

Conclusion: RLS is common in obese children and may be associated with altered sleep quality. Obese children with RLS need to be assessed since they may need support to improve their sleep quality.

Keywords: Obesity; restless legs syndrome; sleep quality; adolescent.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pediatric Obesity / epidemiology*
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*
  • Sleep Wake Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Turkey / epidemiology