Habitual snoring, a prominent symptom of sleep-disordered breathing, is an important indicator for a number of health problems in children. Compared to adults, large epidemiological studies on childhood habitual snoring and associated predisposing factors are extremely scarce. The present study aimed to assess the prevalence and associated factors of habitual snoring among Chinese school-aged children.
A random sample of 20,152 children aged 5.08 to 11.99 years old participated in a cross-sectional survey, which was conducted in eight cities of China. Parent-administrated questionnaires were used to collect information on children's snoring frequency and the possible correlates.
The prevalence of habitual snoring was 12.0% (14.5% for boys vs. 9.5% for girls) in our sampled children. Following factors were associated with an increased risk for habitual snoring: lower family income (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.46), lower father's education (OR = 1.38 and 1.14 for middle school or under and high school of educational level, respectively), breastfeeding duration < 6 months (OR = 1.17), pregnancy maternal smoking (OR = 1.51), obesity (OR = 1.50), overweight (OR = 1.35), several respiratory problems associated with atopy and infection, such as chronic/allergic rhinitis (OR = 1.94), asthma (OR = 1.43), adenotonsillar hypertrophy (OR = 2.17), and chronic otitis media (OR = 1.31), and family history of habitual snoring (OR = 1.70).
The prevalence of habitual snoring in Chinese children was similar to that observed in other countries. The potential predisposing factors covered socioeconomic characteristics, environmental exposures, chronic health problems, and family susceptibility. Compared to socioeconomic status and family susceptibility, environmental exposures and chronic health problems had greater impact, indicating childhood habitual snoring could be partly prevented by health promotion and environmental intervention.