/publications/issue/2006/2006-03/2006-03-5377

Obesity May Lead to Kidney Failure

Author: Susan Farley

A study from the University of California at San Francisco was able to link the effects of obesity with end-stage renal disease (kidney failure). Researchers reviewed data from >320,000 members of Kaiser Permanente health care system, whose height and weight were tracked between 1964 and 1995. Of the study group, 1471 participants developed end-stage renal disease during the follow-up (average time to followup was about 26 years). Even after adjusting for obvious factors, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, researchers found that being overweight or obese also was an important risk factor. According to Chi-yuan Hsu,MD, assistant professor of medicine and lead author, even moderately overweight people had a higher risk of kidney failure than those whose body weight was in the normal, healthy range. The risk for those who were morbidly obese was >700% greater. Dr. Hsu concluded,"There are more and more people with kidney failure, but it hasn't yet been appreciated that kidney failure can be a consequence of obesity."

Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.