Adult Kidney Failure Tied to Excess Weight as Teen

Oct. 29, 2012 — Being overweight or obese as a teen is tied to higher risk of kidney failure by midlife, a new study shows.

The study points to yet another looming consequence of the childhood obesity epidemic — growing ranks of adults who will need dialysis or transplants to replace their ailing kidneys.

“We should not underestimate how much harm obesity can cause in our children and young adults. That is definitely something that this paper conveys,” says Halima Janjua, MD, of the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital, in Ohio. Janjua was not involved in the research.

Tracking End-Stage Kidney Disease

The study, which is published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, followed more than 1.2 million Israeli 17-year-olds who were given thorough medical exams before they started mandatory stints in that country’s military service.  

Some 25 years later, those who were overweight or obese as teens were roughly three to seven times more likely to be on dialysis for end-stage kidney disease compared to their normal-weight peers.

Among 100,000 people followed for a year, there were 2.32 cases of end-stage kidney disease diagnosed among those who had been at a healthy as teens; 6.08 cases diagnosed in adults who had been overweight; and 13.4 cases diagnosed in adults who had been obese when they entered the military.