The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is reminding Americans that being overweight increases the risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure, the two most common causes of chronic kidney disease (CKD). People affected by obesity have an 83 percent higher risk of developing CKD compared to those who have a healthy weight.
More than 20 million people — approximately 1 in 10 American adults — have kidney disease. More than 1 in 3 U.S. adults, and about 1 in 5 teens, are affected by obesity. The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health, is working to improve those odds.
NIDDK Director Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers has the following recommendations:
- Work with a health care provider to create a realistic weight-control plan.
- Use the NIH Body Weight Planner to help achieve and stay at a healthy weight.
- Choose foods that are heart healthy, such as fresh fruits, fresh or frozen vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat or fat-free dairy products. Cut back on salt and added sugars. Replace soda and other sweet drinks with water or juice that doesn’t contain added sugar.
- Be physically active for 30 minutes or more on most days.
- Reduce screen time and spend less time sitting still.
- Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Join family, friends, or coworkers in encouraging each other to stick to healthy routines.
Reaching and maintaining a healthy weight can be a difficult goal, but the rewards pay off — for kidney health and beyond. A recent NIDDK-funded study called the Teen Longitudinal Assessment of Bariatric Surgery, or Teen-LABS, showed that a significant number of severely obese teens who had bariatric weight-loss surgery also had evidence of early kidney disease. However, this research found that three years after having bariatric surgery, 86 percent of teens with kidney damage had improved kidney function. As this study looked at a small number of teens, further research is needed to determine the long-term effects of bariatric surgery on health and well-being.
The NIDDK conducts and supports research on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition, and obesity; and kidney, urologic, and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe, and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about the NIDDK and its programs, visit www.niddk.nih.gov.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.