Study objectives: Habitual snoring may be regarded as an indicator of sleep-disordered breathing, and the health consequences of sleep-disordered breathing are well-known. The aim of this study was to analyze the risk factors associated with habitual snoring in a large sample of women, with special emphasis on the determinants of snoring in women with different body mass index (BMI) levels.
Design and setting: A cross-sectional, epidemiologic, population-based study was performed by using a postal questionnaire that was sent to a randomly selected sample of 6,817 women >/= 20 years of age in Uppsala, Sweden.
Results: The total prevalence of self-reported habitual snoring was 7.6%. There was a clear age dependence, with the highest prevalence of habitual snoring (14%) occurring between the ages of 50 and 59 years. Self-reported habitual snoring was related to BMI, neck circumference, and smoking >/= 10 cigarettes a day, after adjusting for possible confounders. When analyzing the influence of different risk factors in separate BMI groups, the results varied among the groups. The influence of alcohol dependence on snoring frequency was only significant in women with a BMI of < 20 kg/m(2), while physical inactivity was only associated with habitual snoring in women with a BMI of >/= 30 kg/m(2).
Conclusions: The prevalence of self-reported habitual snoring in women was strongly dependent on age and BMI. The importance of other risk factors differed depending on BMI, with alcohol dependence being associated with self-reported snoring in lean women, whereas physical inactivity was a risk factor for self-reported snoring in women with a high BMI.