Big Belt Size Equals Big Kidney Risks

Kidney disease patients with larger waist size have greater risk of death

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Being overweight can put you at risk for all sorts of health problems. If you have kidney disease, having a big waist size may be a threat to your life.

Kidney disease patients who have a larger waist size are more likely to die than those with a smaller waist size.

"Lose weight if you have kidney disease."

There are a few ways to see if someone is obese. One way is to calculate a person's Body Mass Index (BMI) - a measure of body fat based on height and weight. Another way is to measure a person's waist size.

A recent study published in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases shows that waist size can predict a kidney disease patient's risk of death better than BMI.

Holly Kramer, M.D., M.P.H., from Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, and colleagues found that the average BMI of kidney disease patients who died throughout the course of the study was 29.2. The average BMI of those that survived was 30.3. In other words, the kidney disease patients who died had a lower BMI than those who survived. In fact, the average BMI of those who died is not even considered obese. A BMI of 30 and above is obese.

While BMI did not seem to predict kidney disease patients' risk of death, their waist size was a much better measure of this risk. The average waist size of kidney patients who died was 40.1 inches. Those who survived had an average waist size of 39.1 inches.

The researchers also found that women with a waist size of 42.5 inches or greater and men with a waist size of 48 inches or greater were more than twice as likely to die than those with a smaller waist.

The study's authors write that waist size may be a better measure of death risk than BMI because BMI is more than a measure of fat; BMI also measures muscle mass.

Waist size, on the other hand, measures only the amount of abdominal fat.

For the study, Dr. Kramer and colleagues looked at data from 5,805 kidney disease patients who were 45 years of age and older. The researchers followed these patients for a median of four years. By the end of the study, 686 of those patients died.  

Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
July 14, 2011
Last Updated:
July 16, 2011