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Early life environment and snoring in adulthood

Karl A Franklin12*, Christer Janson3, Thórarinn Gíslason4, Amund Gulsvik56, Maria Gunnbjörnsdottir3, Birger N Laerum56, Eva Lindberg3, Eva Norrman1, Lennarth Nyström7, Ernst Omenaas68, Kjell Torén9 and Cecilie Svanes56

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, University Hospital, Umeå, Sweden

2 National Respiratory Center, Department of Anesthesia and Intensive Care, Karolinska Institute, Danderyd Hospital, Stockholm, Sweden

3 Department of Respiratory Medicine and Allergology, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden

4 Department of Pulmonary Medicine, Landspitali University Hospital, Reykjavik, Iceland

5 Department of Thoracic Medicine, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

6 Institute of Medicine, University of Bergen, Norway

7 Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Division of Epidemiology and Public Health Sciences, Umeå University, Sweden

8 Center for Clinical Research, Haukeland University Hospital, Bergen, Norway

9 Department of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and Allergology, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Göteborg, Sweden

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Respiratory Research 2008, 9:63  doi:10.1186/1465-9921-9-63

Published: 22 August 2008



To our knowledge, no studies of the possible association of early life environment with snoring in adulthood have been published. We aimed to investigate whether early life environment is associated with snoring later in life.


A questionnaire including snoring frequency in adulthood and environmental factors in early life was obtained from 16,190 randomly selected men and women, aged 25–54 years, in Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Estonia (response rate 74%).


A total of 15,556 subjects answered the questions on snoring. Habitual snoring, defined as loud and disturbing snoring at least 3 nights a week, was reported by 18%. Being hospitalized for a respiratory infection before the age of two years (adjusted odds ratio (OR) = 1.27; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.01–1.59), suffering from recurrent otitis as a child (OR = 1.18; 95%CI 1.05–1.33), growing up in a large family (OR = 1.04; 95%CI 1.002–1.07) and being exposed to a dog at home as a newborn (OR = 1.26; 95%CI 1.12–1.42) were independently related to snoring later in life and independent of a number of possible confounders in adulthood. The same childhood environmental factors except household size were also related with snoring and daytime sleepiness combined.


The predisposition for adult snoring may be partly established early in life. Having had severe airway infections or recurrent otitis in childhood, being exposed to a dog as a newborn and growing up in a large family are environmental factors associated with snoring in adulthood.