Widening Waistlines Raise Kidney Risks

Heavier men face higher odds of organ dysfunction, research shows

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FRIDAY, Nov. 4, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- As a man's weight increases, so does his risk of kidney diseases, a new study finds.

"Our study provides evidence that maintaining a healthy weight is an important factor to preserving healthy kidney function in men," lead researcher Dr. Tobias Kurth, an epidemiologist in the divisions of aging and preventive medicine at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), in Boston, said in a prepared statement.

His team analyzed 14 years of data from more than 11,000 initially healthy men taking part in the ongoing Physician's Health Study.

The researchers found that a higher body mass index (BMI, a ratio of weight to height) at the start of the study was associated with a higher risk of chronic kidney disease, even after controlling for other factors such as smoking, age, and diabetes.

The study also found that for every one unit increase in BMI, men also gained a five percent increased risk of chronic kidney disease. Men who reported a weight gain of 10 percent or more over the study period were about 30 percent more likely to develop chronic kidney disease than men who kept their weight at the same level or had a lower amount of weight gain, the researchers reported. The risk was even greater in men who were already obese at the start of the study.

"We demonstrated that for men in all weight categories, adding pounds over time, especially an increase of 10 percent of their total weight, may lead to kidney dysfunction," Kurth said. "These two findings are significant because currently there are very few modifiable factors known to help reduce the risk of initial kidney disease. Based on this study and others we may soon see body mass index accepted as a recognized risk factor for chronic kidney disease."

The findings appear in the November issue of the American Journal of Kidney Disease.

More information

The U.S. National Kidney Disease Education Program has more about preventing kidney disease.

SOURCE: Brigham and Women's Hospital, news release, Oct. 28, 2005

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