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Maternal Obesity Linked to Kidney, Urinary Tract Disorders

Update Date: Nov 04, 2014 05:03 PM EST

Obese pregnant women are more likely to give birth to children with congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract, according to a new study.

Recent statistics show that congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract (CAKUT) are diagnosed in up to 1 percent of pregnancies and account for an overwhelming 20 percent to 30 percent of prenatal abnormalities.  

Lead researcher Dr. Ian Macumbe of Seattle Children's Hospital and his team wanted to see if maternal obesity also influenced the rate of congenital abnormalities of the kidney and urinary tract.

The latest study involved data from birth-hospital discharge records from Washington State from 2003 to 2012. Researchers were able to identify 3,221 cases and match them to healthy controls.

The findings revealed that mothers of infants with CAKUT were 1.3 times more likely to be obese. The study also identified a significant link between the likelihood of CAKUT in children and higher categories of obesity. However, the study found no link between being overweight and CAKUT in offspring.

"Our findings add to the public health importance of obesity, particularly as a modifiable risk factor," added Macumber.

"The data supplement the literature regarding obesity's association with congenital abnormalities and highlight the importance of future research needed to clarify the mechanisms of these associations," he concluded.

The findings will be presented at ASN Kidney Week 2014 November 11¬-16 at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia, PA.

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