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Eur Respir J. 2012 Jun;39(6):1398-404. doi: 10.1183/09031936.00103411. Epub 2011 Oct 27.

Effect of Mediterranean diet versus prudent diet combined with physical activity on OSAS: a randomised trial.

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  • 1Dept of Social Medicine, Preventive Medicine and Nutrition Clinic, Heraklion, Crete, Greece.


We aimed to evaluate the effect of the Mediterranean diet (MD) compared with a prudent diet (PD) combined with physical activity on obese obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome (OSAS) patients who were treated with continuous positive airway pressure. 900 patients were evaluated and 40 obese patients (body mass index ≥ 30.0 kg · m(-2)) who met the inclusion criteria, with moderate-to-severe OSAS (apnoea-hypopnoea index (AHI) >15 events · h(-1) and Epworth Sleepiness Scale score >10) based on overnight attended polysomnography, were included in the study. After randomisation, 20 patients followed the MD and 20 a PD for a 6-month period. All patients were counselled to increase their physical activity. Concerning sleep parameters, only AHI during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep was reduced to a statistically significant degree, by mean ± SD 18.4 ± 17.6 events · h(-1) in the MD group and by 2.6 ± 23.7 events · h(-1) in the PD group (p<0.05). The MD group also showed a greater reduction in waist circumference (WC) (-8.7 ± 3.6 cm), WC/height ratio (-0.04 ± 0.02 cm · m(-1)) and WC/hip ratio (-0.04 ± 0.03 cm · cm(-1)), compared with the other group (-2.6 ± 1.7 events · h(-1), -5.7 ± 3.8 cm, -0.03 ± 0.02 cm · m(-1) and 0.02 ± 0.02 cm · cm(-1), respectively; p<0.05). Our results showed that the MD combined with physical activity for a 6-month period was effective in reducing the AHI during REM sleep without any statistically significant effect in the other sleep parameters, compared with a PD in obese adults with moderate-to-severe OSAS.

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