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Volume 14 No. 06
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Accepted Papers

Scientific Investigations

Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Sleep Architecture in Adolescents With Severe Obesity: Effects of a 9-Month Lifestyle Modification Program Based on Regular Exercise and a Balanced Diet

Johanna Roche1,2,3; Valérie Gillet, MD3; Frédéric Perret, MD4; Fabienne Mougin, PhD1,2
1Research Unit EA3920, University Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Besançon, France; 2Sports Science Faculty, University Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Besançon, France; 3Sleep Medicine Center, Ellipse, Franois, France; 4UGECAM Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Salins les Bains, France

Study Objectives:

Physical exercise and lifestyle modification are recognized as adjunct therapy for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) in overweight adults. The objectives of this study were to investigate the effects of long-term physical exercise combined with a balanced diet on sleep architecture, sleep duration, and OSA in adolescents with severe obesity.


This interventional study was conducted in a nursing institution. Participants were aged 14.6 ± 1.2 years with obesity (body mass index (BMI) = 40.2 ± 6.5 kg/m2). At admission and at 9 months, participants underwent ambulatory polysomnography and incremental maximal exercise testing to determine cardiorespiratory fitness.


Twenty-four subjects completed the study. Analyses were performed on the whole population and on a subgroup of subjects with OSA (OSA-subgroup). OSA, defined as obstructive apnea-hypopnea index (OAHI) ≥ 2 events/h, was diagnosed in 58.3% of the population. OAHI was only associated with fat mass in males (r = .75, P < .05). At 9 months postintervention, weight loss (−11.1 kg, P < .0001) and improved cardiorespiratory fitness (VO2peak: +4.9 mL/min/kg, P < .001) were found in the whole population. Sleep duration was increased (+34 minutes, P < .05) and sleep architecture was changed with an increase of rapid eye movement sleep (+2.5%, P < .05) and a decrease of stage N3 sleep (−3.1%, P < .001). Similar results were found in the OSA subgroup. However, OAHI remained unchanged (P = .18).


A combination of supervised aerobic exercise and a balanced diet led to weight loss, improved aerobic capacity, and modified sleep architecture without changes in OSA.


A commentary on this article appears in this issue on page 907.

Clinical Trial Registration:

Registry:, Title: Exercise and Venous Compression on Upper Airway Resistance in Obese Teenagers With OSA (OBESOMAC), URL:, Identifier: NCT02588469


Roche J, Gillet V, Perret F, Mougin F. Obstructive sleep apnea and sleep architecture in adolescents with severe obesity: effects of a 9-month lifestyle modification program based on regular exercise and a balanced diet. J Clin Sleep Med. 2018;14(6):967–976.

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