Background: Few studies have explored the role of body composition linking air pollution to obstructive sleep apnea (OSA). Objective: To estimate the effects of air pollution on body composition and OSA, and that of body composition on OSA. Methods: This study included 3550 individuals. A spatiotemporal model estimated personal exposure. Nocturnal changes in body composition were assessed through bioelectric impedance analysis. OSA was diagnosed using polysomnography. A generalized linear model was used to evaluate the absolute nocturnal changes in body composition associated with an interquartile range (IQR) increase in pollutants. A generalized logistic model was used to estimate odds ratios (ORs) of mild-OSA compared to non-OSA. Association between body composition and apnea–hypopnea index (AHI) was investigated through partial least squares (PLS) regression. Results: Nocturnal changes in lower-limb body composition were associated with NO2 and PM2.5 in all patients. In participants with AHI <15, both short- and long-term NO2 exposures affected body composition and mild-OSA, while PM2.5 was not associated with either outcome. In a PLS model incorporating eight NO2-associated lower-limb parameters, the variable importance projection scores (VIP) of left leg impedance (LLIMP), predicted muscle mass (LLPMM), fat-free mass (LLFFM), and right leg impedance (RLIMP) exceeded 1; the corresponding coefficients ranked in the top four for AHI prediction. The adjusted OR (mild vs. non-OSA) was 1.67 (95 % CI: 1.36–2.03) associated with an IQR increase in prediction value estimated from body compositions. Notably, the two-pollutant model investigating the effects of pollutants on body compositions revealed associations of four parameters (LLIMP, LLPMM, LLFFM, and RLIMP) with NO2 in all lags, which indicates their indispensability in the association between NO2 and AHI. Conclusions: NO2 exacerbates mild-OSA by disrupting nocturnal changes in lower-limb body composition of patients with AHI <15. PM2.5 was associated with nocturnal changes in lower-limb body composition but not with mild-OSA.
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