Young children with persistent and loud snoring are more likely to have problem behaviors, researchers claim.

A new study, published in the journal Pediatrics, found that pre-school-aged children who snore were more likely to have problem behaviors associated with hyperactivity, depression and inattention.

Lead author Dr. Dean Beebe, director of the neuropsychology program at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, said that while persistent, loud snoring is estimated to affect one out of every 10 children, some factors like socioeconomic status and duration of breastfeeding can predict persistent snoring in children.

"The strongest predictors of persistent snoring were lower socioeconomic status and the absence or shorter duration of breastfeeding," Beebe said in a news release.

"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," he said.

The recent study is believed to be the first to examine the link between persistent snoring and behavior problems in preschool-age children.

The study included 249 children, and researchers surveyed the children's moms about their kids' sleep and behaviors.

Beebe and his colleagues at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center found that children who snored loudly at least twice a week at the age of two and three had significantly more behavior problems than children who either didn't snore or who only snored at two or three, 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," Beebe said.

"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," he warned.

Results from the study found that even after taking into account other factors like family income, infant breastfeeding, especially over longer periods of time, protected kids against persistent snoring.