What is the prevalence of childhood obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)?

Updated: Feb 13, 2019
  • Author: Mary E Cataletto, MD; Chief Editor: Denise Serebrisky, MD  more...
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Answer

In nonobese and otherwise healthy children younger than 8 years, the prevalence of obstructive sleep apnea is estimated to be 1-3%. Habitual snoring is common during childhood and affects approximately 10% of children aged 2-8 years; the frequency decreases after age 9-10 years. Obesity confers 4-fold to 5-fold added risk for sleep-disordered breathing.

In the United Kingdom, approximately 1.75-2.25% of children aged 4-5 years are thought to have obstructive sleep apnea. Unfortunately, very few epidemiologic studies of childhood obstructive sleep apnea are available.


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