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A Journal on Pediatrics, Neonatology, Adolescent Medicine,
Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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Minerva Pediatrica 2011 December;63(6):473-82

language: English

Sleep and obesity in children: a clinical perspective

Kelly-Pieper K. 1, Lamm C. 1, Fennoy I. 2

1 Division of Pediatric Pulmonary and Sleep Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA;
2 Division of Pediatric Endocrinology, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA


Childhood obesity is an international epidemic with many long-term health consequences. The many comorbid conditions associated with obesity underscore the need to explore the different etiologies of obesity which may lead to potential therapeutic interventions. There is growing evidence both that obesity affects sleep, and that sleep patterns and disorders may have an effect on weight. Both respiratory and non-respiratory sleep disorders are associated with obesity; those that have gotten the most attention are the relationships between obesity and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome and short sleep duration. Other forms of sleep-disordered breathing and narcolepsy have also been associated with childhood obesity. Due to the many comorbidities of obesity, this subset of the pediatric population has frequent health care visits across a variety of subspecialties. It is likely that a non-sleep physician will be the first to recognize a sleep-related problem. The aim of this review was to discuss sleep disorders that may be encountered by the general pediatrician and the pediatric subspecialists in their obese pediatric patients and to describe the evidence that links these disorders to obesity.

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