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Study compares different measures of body fat for predicting kidney function decline

May 18, 2017

Highlights
  • In a new study, a higher amount of body fat was linked with an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease.
  • Simple ways of measuring body size--such as waist circumference or body mass index--provided similar information on risk as more sophisticated methods, such as imaging scans, to measure different types of body fat.
  • Obesity is an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease.

Washington, DC (May 18, 2017) -- A new study indicates that waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) may be as reliable as direct measures of different types of body fat for assessing an individual's risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD). The findings appear in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology (CJASN).

In the past two decades there has been an increase in the prevalence of CKD that has paralleled the increase in the prevalence of obesity. Although higher BMI has been associated with development of CKD, it may be important to consider where excess fat is stored, rather than simply how much excess fat a person is carrying. This is because fat can have differing effects on health and metabolism depending on its location in the body.

To investigate, Magdalena Madero, MD (National Heart Institute, in Mexico City) and her colleagues examined information from computed tomography scans on 2489 Health Aging and Body Composition Study participants who had normal kidney function and an average age of 74 years. The scans measured visceral abdominal fat, subcutaneous fat, and intermuscular fat. The team also collected patient data on BMI and waist circumference.

CKD developed in 17% of participants over a median follow-up of 9 years. Visceral fat, intermuscular fat, BMI, and waist circumference--but not subcutaneous fat--were all associated with kidney function decline and the development of CKD.

"Although we hypothesized that direct measures of body fat would provide a better risk estimate for kidney function decline, we found that anthropometric measures of body fat such as BMI appear to provide similar estimates," said Dr. Madero.
-end-
Study co-authors include Ronit Katz, DPhil, Rachel Murphy, MD, Anne Newman, MD, MPH, Kushang Patel, PhD, Joe Ix, MD, MAS, FASN, Carmen Peralta, MD, MAS, Suzanne Satterfield, PhD, Linda Fried, MD, Michael Shlipak, MD, MPH, and Mark Sarnak, MD, MS.

Disclosures: The authors reported no financial disclosures.

The article, entitled "Comparison between Different Measures of Body Fat with Kidney Function Decline and Incident Chronic Kidney Disease," will appear online at http://cjasn.asnjournals.org/ on May 18, 2017, doi: 10.2215/CJN.07010716.

The content of this article does not reflect the views or opinions of The American Society of Nephrology (ASN). Responsibility for the information and views expressed therein lies entirely with the author(s). ASN does not offer medical advice. All content in ASN publications is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, drug interactions, or adverse effects. This content should not be used during a medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Please consult your doctor or other qualified health care provider if you have any questions about a medical condition, or before taking any drug, changing your diet or commencing or discontinuing any course of treatment. Do not ignore or delay obtaining professional medical advice because of information accessed through ASN. Call 911 or your doctor for all medical emergencies.

Since 1966, ASN has been leading the fight to prevent, treat, and cure kidney diseases throughout the world by educating health professionals and scientists, advancing research and innovation, communicating new knowledge, and advocating for the highest quality care for patients. ASN has nearly 17,000 members representing 112 countries. For more information, please visit http://www.asn-online.org or contact the society at 202-640-4660.

American Society of Nephrology

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