Obesity, ethnicity, and sleep-disordered breathing: medical and health policy implications

Clin Chest Med. 2006 Sep;27(3):521-33, viii. doi: 10.1016/j.ccm.2006.04.008.


The obesity epidemic in the United States is a major health problem, which poses im-mediate and long-term health risks with potential for significant reduction in life expectancy if not curtailed. Despite affecting all segments of the population, minorities carry a relatively larger burden of the obesity threat. Obesity is a major risk factor for develop-ing obstructive sleep apnea and the metabolic syndrome, which are associated with increased cardiovascular and cerebrovascular morbidity and mortality. This article discusses the implications of the obesity trend on the prevalence of obstructive sleep ap-nea and health, highlights ethnic differences, reviews the resultant economic implications, and suggests public health and health policy initiatives that may be beneficial in stemming the obesity scourge.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Counseling
  • Ethnicity
  • Exercise
  • Face / anatomy & histology
  • Health Policy*
  • Humans
  • Obesity* / prevention & control
  • Obesity* / therapy
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Skull / anatomy & histology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive*
  • Socioeconomic Factors