OBJECTIVE:The aim of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of obesity and sleep disordered breathing (SDB) in two different populations of Italian schoolchildren studied 13 years apart living in a country town of Central Italy (Ronciglione, VT).
RESEARCH METHODS AND PROCEDURES: Subjects were drawn from two populations, both non selected, of schoolchildren. Parents underwent to a 9-items sleep questionnaires investigating on SBD. We assessed measures of weight and height obtaining and using BMI values to assess obesity, with cut-off values proposed by the International Obesity Task Force.
RESULTS: Two cross sectional surveys were carried out on 177 students (males 82; mean age 9.65±0.61 years) in 1998 (group 1) and on 198 students (males 111; mean age 9.3±0.9 years) in 2011 (group 2) from elementary school without significative differences for age and sex between groups. The prevalence of obesity from 1998 to 2011 was significally increased (from 10.21% to 20.7%, p<0.0001). No statistically significance was found in SBD for snoring (from 8,5% to 9,1%), nocturnal awakenings (from 2,3% to 2,5%) and sleep apnea (from 5,6% to 6,1%). Only the oral breathing increased significantly (from 36,2% to 57,6,%, p<0,0001). In group 2 the percentage of snoring and sleep apnea were higher in obese children than in those without obesity (from 12.2% to 7.7% and from 12.2 to 4.6%, respectively) although not statistically significant.
DISCUSSION: The prevalence of obesity in young Italian children is very high, and it is rapidly growing. There is upward trend of SDB in the obese population while no statistically increments were showed in SBD in total population.