Executive Function Impairments in Adolescents With Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome

Alexa J. Watach, Jerilynn Radcliffe, Melissa S. Xanthopoulos, Marsha B. Novick, Amy M. Sawyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Adolescents with obesity and obstructive sleep apnea syndrome (OSAS) are at high risk of poor physical and cognitive health consequences. The purpose of this study was to explore executive function (EF) in adolescents with obesity and OSAS, describe physical activity and sleep duration, and explore the relationships between EF and physical activity and sleep duration. Participants comprised 20 adolescents (ages 11–17 years) with obesity (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 95th percentile) and OSAS (apnea–hypopnea index [AHI] ≥ 1.5 events/hr) participated in this observational pilot study with a prospective 1-week measurement protocol. Outcome measures included EF by the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-2, physical activity by Previous Day Physical Activity Recall, and sleep by Consensus Sleep Diary and actigraphy. Adolescents with obesity and OSAS had significantly worse EF by self- and parent-report than the normative sample (p ≤.003), 45% had impaired EF and up to 30% had clinically significant impairments. Participants spent approximately 14.3 hr/day in light-intensity activity, and 33% did not engage in moderate-to-vigorous-intensity activity for at least 60 min on any days of data collection. Adolescents had insufficient sleep duration, averaging 6.9 hr/night. No significant relationships were identified between physical activity or sleep duration and EF. Providers should have a heightened awareness for EF impairments in obese adolescents with OSAS and consider how EF deficits may affect uptake and adherence to complex lifestyle and/or medical interventions among these patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)377-383
Number of pages7
JournalBiological Research For Nursing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Research and Theory


Dive into the research topics of 'Executive Function Impairments in Adolescents With Obesity and Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this