BACKGROUND: Obese adults have a higher risk of obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA); however, the relationship between childhood obesity and adult OSA risk is unclear. Objectives This study aimed to examine overweight/obesity (OW) in childhood and risk of OSA in middle age.
METHODS: Childhood OW status was classified as never OW, weight cycling, persistent OW and incident OW. After 35 years of follow-up, high risk for OSA was determined by a positive score in ≥2 domains on the Berlin Questionnaire with obesity removed from scoring.
RESULTS: At initial assessment, mean (SD) age was 9.9 (2.9) years, and 23.9% were OW. Overall, 25.7% had scores indicating a high risk for OSA. Compared with participants who were never OW, those with persistent OW and incident OW were 1.36 (95%CI: 1.04-1.77) and 1.47 (1.11-1.96) times more likely to be high risk for OSA, after adjustment for multiple risk factors and adult OW status. Participants with an OW duration of 1-4 years, 5-8 years, and 8+ years were 0.96 (0.44-2.09), 1.20 (0.70-2.04) and 1.52 (1.22-1.90) times more likely to be high risk for OSA compared with those who were never OW (P for trend: 0.0002).
CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that childhood OW is associated with a high risk of OSA in middle age.