Objective: To determine whether regular aerobic exercise improves symptoms of sleep-disordered breathing in overweight children, as has been shown in adults. Research Methods and Procedures: Healthy but overweight (BMI ≥85th percentile) 7- to 11-year-old children were recruited from public schools for a randomized controlled trial of exercise effects on diabetes risk. One hundred children (53% black, 41% male) were randomly assigned to a control group (n = 27), a low-dose exercise group (n = 36), or a high-dose exercise group (n = 37). Exercise groups underwent a 13 ± 1.5 week after-school program that provided 20 or 40 minutes per day of aerobic exercise (average heart rate = 164 beats per minute). Group changes were compared on BMI z-score and four Pediatric Sleep Questionnaire scales: Snoring, Sleepiness, Behavior, and a summary scale, Sleep-Related Breathing Disorders. Analyses were adjusted for age. Results: Both the high-dose and low-dose exercise groups improved more than the control group on the Snoring scale. The high-dose exercise group improved more than the low-dose exercise and control groups on the summary scale. No group differences were found for changes on Sleepiness, Behavior, or BMI z-score. At baseline, 25% screened positive for sleep-disordered breathing; half improved to a negative screen after intervention. Discussion: Regular vigorous exercise can improve snoring, a symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, in overweight children. Aerobic exercise programs may be valuable for prevention and treatment of sleep-disordered breathing in overweight children.
- Sleep-disordered breathing
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medicine (miscellaneous)
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Nutrition and Dietetics