Sustained improvement in mild obstructive sleep apnea after a diet- and physical activity-based lifestyle intervention: postinterventional follow-up

Am J Clin Nutr. 2010 Oct;92(4):688-96. doi: 10.3945/ajcn.2010.29485. Epub 2010 Aug 11.


Background: Obesity is the most important risk factor for obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Weight-reduction programs have been observed to represent effective treatment of overweight patients with OSA. However, it is not known whether beneficial changes remain after the end of the intervention.

Objective: The aim of the study was to assess the long-term efficacy of a lifestyle intervention based on a healthy diet and physical activity in a randomized, controlled, 2-y postintervention follow-up in OSA patients.

Design: Eighty-one consecutive overweight [body mass index (in kg/m(2)): 28-40] adult patients with mild OSA were recruited. The intervention group completed a 1-y lifestyle modification regimen that included an early 12-wk weight-reduction program with a very-low-calorie diet. The control group received routine lifestyle counseling. During the second year, no dietary counseling was offered. Change in the apnea-hypopnea index (AHI) was the main objective outcome variable, and changes in symptoms were used as a subjective measurement.

Results: A total of 71 patients completed the 2-y follow-up. The mean (± SD) changes in diet and lifestyle with simultaneous weight reduction (-7.3 ± 6.5 kg) in the intervention group reflected sustained improvements in findings and symptoms of OSA. After 2 y, the reduction in the AHI was significantly greater in the intervention group (P = 0.049). The intervention lowered the risk of OSA at follow-up; the adjusted odds ratio for OSA was 0.35 (95% CI: 0.12-0.97; P = 0.045).

Conclusion: Favorable changes achieved by a 1-y lifestyle intervention aimed at weight reduction with a healthy diet and physical activity were sustained in overweight patients with mild OSA after the termination of supervised lifestyle counseling. This trial was registered at as NCT00486746.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Size
  • Diet*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Overweight / blood
  • Overweight / complications
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / blood
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / etiology
  • Sleep Apnea, Obstructive / prevention & control*
  • Triglycerides / blood


  • Triglycerides

Associated data