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Persistent and Loud Snoring in Children Could be a Sign of Behavioral Problems

Update Date: Aug 13, 2012 05:26 AM EDT

If you ever hear your baby snoring persistently for some time, you might consider going to a doctor, as a new study suggests that persistent and loud snoring in young children is associated with problem behaviors.

According to Dean Beebe, PhD, director of the neuropsychology program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center and lead author of the study, the behavioral problems may include hyperactivity, depression and inattention.

"The strongest predictors of persistent snoring were lower socioeconomic status and the absence or shorter duration of breastfeeding," says Dr. Beebe. "This would suggest that doctors routinely screen for and track snoring, especially in children from poorer families, and refer loudly-snoring children for follow-up care. Failing to screen, or taking a 'wait and see' approach on snoring, could make preschool behavior problems worse. The findings also support the encouragement and facilitation of infant breastfeeding."

Approximately one in 10 children snore persistently and loudly, states the press release.

For the research, Dr. Beebe and colleagues at Cincinnati Children's quizzed the mothers of 249 children, asking question pertaining to their kids' sleep and behaviors.

It was found that children who snored loudly at least twice a week at the age of 2 and 3 had more behavior problems when compared to those who either don't snore at all, or those who snored only either at age 2 or age 3, but not at both ages.

"A lot of kids snore every so often, and cartoons make snoring look cute or funny. But loud snoring that lasts for months is not normal, and anything that puts young kids at that much risk for behavioral problems is neither cute nor funny," says Dr. Beebe in the press release. "That kind of snoring can be a sign of real breathing problems at night that are treatable. I encourage parents to talk to their child's doctor about loud snoring, especially if it happens a lot and persists over time."

Breastfeeding for a longer period of time seemed to reduce persistent snoring in children, even after factors including family income were considered.

The study was published in the journal Pediatrics.

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