Heavy Teens May Become Adults with ESRD

End stage renal disease risk higher in overweight or obese teenagers

(RxWiki News) Whether you are old or young, being overweight or obese is not good for your health. If you are a teenager carrying too much extra weight, you may be in store for serious health problems as you grow older.

Being overweight or obese as a teenager may be linked to an increased risk of end-stage renal disease (complete or near-complete kidney failure), according to a recent study.

The researchers found being overweight or obese at 17 years of age was strongly associated with a future risk of developing end-stage renal disease.

"Lose weight now."

Children and teens who are overweight or obese often become obese adults, said Asaf Vivante, MD, of the Israeli Defense Forces Medical Corps and the Edmond and Lily Safra Children's Hospital, and colleagues in background information to their study. Obese adults are more likely than normal weight adults to develop diseases like diabetes, which can eventually lead to kidney disease, the authors said.

Dr. Vivante and colleagues wanted to see if there was a link between body mass index (BMI) during teen years and the risk of end-stage renal disease.

BMI is a measure of body fat using height and weight. A BMI of less than 25 is considered normal. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight. A BMI over 30 is considered obese. At 17 years of age, overweight teens had three times the risk of end-stage renal disease compared to normal weight teens. Obese teens were nearly seven times more likely to develop end-stage renal disease.

Overweight and obese teens faced an even higher risk of diabetes-related end-stage renal disease. Compared to normal weight teens, overweight teens had nearly six times the risk of diabetic end-stage renal disease and obese teens had more than 19 times the risk of diabetic end-stage renal disease.

The absolute risk of end-stage renal disease is small. In this study of 1.2 million people, only 874 developed end-stage renal disease. Despite this small absolute risk, the risk of end-stage renal disease was high among overweight and obese teens.

These findings suggest it may never be too soon to lose weight. Tackling weight problems in your youth could prevent serious diseases in your future.

The researchers gained access to anonymized databases with the help of the Israeli Defense Forces Medical Corps and the Israeli Ministry of Health.

The authors disclosed no potential conflicts of interest. The study was published in October in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Review Date: 
October 29, 2012