obesity and sleep apnea

Obesity is a growing problem in the United States. As defined by the US National Institutes of Health, a person with a body mass index (BMI) of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight and those with higher BMIs are considered obese.

Approximately two thirds of the US population is at least overweight, and half these individuals are obese. Obesity is also the greatest risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). While approximately two to four percent of the population is estimated to have OSA, the prevalence increases to 20 to 40 percent in the obese population.

The main symptoms of OSA (excessive daytime sleepiness [EDS] and fatigue) are known to contribute to overeating and being sedentary. Tiredness can cause people to eat for stimulation. These habits, over time, can result in obesity, which worsens sleep apnea, leading to a progression in severity for both conditions.

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