Adults with large neck circumference (NC) are more likely to develop obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), especially in males. As NC changes with age and sex, no reference ranges for NC existed, until now. Investigators at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario have developed reference ranges – a new pediatric growth curve – to measure and track NC for children between the ages 6–17 years old. Their new study, published in Pediatric Pulmonology, reports NC data on 245 children aged 6–17 years presenting for polysomnography, in whom NC reference ranges were applied, to test the association between NC > 95th percentile and OSA.
The study found that in children, NC measuring > 95th percentile for age and sex is associated with increased risk of OSA. When examined by sex, the association was significant in males aged 12 or older, but not in females. Body Mass Index (BMI), did not did not predict OSA in this group.
In older males, as in adults, neck size is a predictor of OSA. This suggests that as in adults, it is not just overall obesity, but body fat distribution centrally (in the trunk and neck) that predicts risk of OSA.