Research from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), shows that a higher BMI significantly raises the risk of developing kidney disease, a common complication of diabetes.
The research team used health data from the CARDIA programme. The CARDIA (Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults) programme has been collecting patient data on patients across America since 1985.
For this study, researchers reviewed health outcomes over a 10 years. At the start of this time period, the average age of participants was 35 and all had normal kidney function at the time. In total, 2,891 participants were selected and put into categories based on their BMI:
Normal weight – 18.5 to 24.9
Overweight – 25 to 29.9
Obese – 30 to 39.9
Extreme obesity – 40 and above
Results of the study showed that with each rise in BMI bracket, rates of kidney disease rose. Keen to delve deeper into the outcomes, the researchers took into other potential factors such as the presence of diabetes, hypertension and inflammatory markers yet still found BMI to be strongly related to decline in kidney function.
The results adds further significance to the importance of losing weight in type 2 diabetes in order to decrease the risk of developing nephropathy (kidney disease). The study also highlights a need for people that are overweight or obese but do not have diabetes to also lose weight in order to improve their chances of avoiding kidney damage.

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