Pediatric Original Article

International Journal of Obesity (2012) 36, 920–924; doi:10.1038/ijo.2012.5; published online 24 January 2012

Body weight status and obstructive sleep apnea in children

K-T Kang1,2, P-L Lee3,4, W-C Weng5 and W-C Hsu1,3

  1. 1Department of Otolaryngology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  2. 2Department of Otolaryngology, Taipei Hospital, Department of Health, New Taipei City, Taiwan
  3. 3Sleep Center, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  4. 4Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
  5. 5Department of Pediatrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

Correspondence: Dr W-C Hsu, Department of Otolaryngology, National Taiwan University Hospital, # 7, Chung-Shan South Road, Taipei, Taiwan. E-mail:

Received 13 May 2011; Revised 22 December 2011; Accepted 3 January 2012
Advance online publication 24 January 2012





The relationship between weight status, adenotonsillar hypertrophy and obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in children has not yet been well studied. As the sleep parameters may show a disparity in different weight statuses, this study examined the relationship between the data of over-night polysomnography and different weight statuses, as well as the impact of adenotonsillar hypertrophy on children with OSA.



Children with sleep disturbances were recruited from our clinics. Standard physical examinations, history taking, lateral neck roentgenography, and full-night polysomnography were obtained. Children were divided into four groups based on the age- and gender-corrected body mass index (BMI): underweight, normal weight, overweight and obese. An adenoidal/nasopharyngeal ratio of more than 0.67 was considered adenoidal hypertrophy. Tonsillar hypertrophy was defined as having Grade III tonsils or above.



From July 2006 to January 2009, 197 children were included in this study. Obese children had a significantly higher apnea–hypopnea index (AHI), obstructive apnea index and lower minimum oxygen saturation (MinSaO2) than those of the other groups. Underweight children had the second highest AHI. A negative correlation was also found between BMI z scores and MinSaO2 (r=−0.194; P=0.007). Children with tonsillar hypertrophy (P=0.001) were associated with a higher risk of having OSA. The risk of having OSA was significantly higher in obese children (P=0.001) and underweight children (P=0.043) than in those with a normal weight.



Obesity, underweight status and tonsillar hypertrophy are associated with children having OSA, and obese children have a significantly higher risk than children with underweight status.


weight status; obese; underweight; obstructive sleep apnea; polysomnography; children

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