Obesity is the strongest risk factor for obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA). Approximately 60% of moderate-to-severe OSA is due to obesity. Other risk factors are increasing age, male gender, perimenopausal or postmenopausal status in women and craniofacial abnormalities (eg, a slightly backwards displaced lower jaw or overbite).
However there is evidence for a bi-directional relationship between obesity and OSA with recognition that the development of OSA and its subsequent sleep fragmentation may contribute to accelerated weight gain.
Untreated OSA and obesity may create a vicious cycle of increased OSA and obesity, unless patients are properly managed.