Research involving 1144 third-grade German schoolchildren found that a range of factors may promote chronic snoring in children. For the study, the researchers surveyed the parents of the students at the beginning of the study and again a year later. The researchers discovered that obesity, "mouth breathing" during the day, frequent sore throats, and parents smoking were all connected with a greater risk of habitual snoring.

Chronic snoring can be a symptom of obstructive sleep apnea. Yet, habitual snoring without sleep apnea can be a problem in itself, reported study coauthor Christian F. Poets, MD.

Dr. Poets said that for many years there has been a general belief that children with sleep apnea require treatment, but chronic snoring alone does not need treatment because it is not a problem. The researcher explained that, similar to adults, children who snore?even without sleep apnea?may frequently fail to get a restful night's sleep, and therefore encounter daytime drowsiness.

Using the parents' reports, the researchers found that about 8% of the students were initially habitual snorers. A year later, half of the children were still chronically snoring, while a majority of the rest were snoring intermittently. Determining which children are more apt to develop chronic snoring could allow physicians to treat or prevent the condition (Chest, September 2004).