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Overweight Young Adults May Have Greater Chronic Kidney Disease Risk

Update Date: Apr 05, 2013 12:04 PM EDT

Overweight young adults are significantly more likely to develop kidney disease by the time the become seniors, according to a new study.

The latest findings published in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, emphasize the importance of excess weight as a risk factor for chronic kidney disease.

The study analyzed a sample of children born in one week in March 1946 in England, Scotland and Wales.  Researchers said a total of 4,584 participants from the Medical Research Council National Survey of Health and Development had available data including body mass index at ages 20, 26, 43, 53 and 60 to 64 years.

The study found that participants who were overweight beginning early adulthood (ages 26 or 36 years) had double the risk of having CKD at age 60 to 64 year or never became overweight.

Researchers found that the association between overweight and CKD was only partly explained by taking diabetes and hypertension into account.

Researchers found that people with "apple-shaped bodies", or larger waist-to-hip ratios, at ages 43 and 53 were also more likely to have CKD at age 60 to 64 years.

"We estimated that 36% of CKD cases at age 60 to 64 in the current US population could be avoided if nobody became overweight until at least that age, assuming the same associations as in the analysis sample," researcher Dr. Dorothea Nitsch, from London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, in England, said in a statement.

To our knowledge we are the first to report how age of exposure to overweight across adulthood may affect kidney disease risk," she added.

Researchers noted that it is still unclear whether the timing of becoming overweight or the duration of being overweight is responsible for the heightened risk of CKD. However, researchers said either explanation suggests that preventing excess weight gain in early adulthood could prevent CKD in later life.

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