A sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of kidney disease, according to new research.
The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Utah School of Medicine, distinguished between sedentary behaviour and physical inactivity. Sedentary behaviour means spending a lot of time sitting or lying down, with energy expenditure at the same levels as when you are asleep or resting. Physical inactivity means a lack of vigorous activity.
The researchers analysed the data of 5,873 adults who had varying levels of physical activity. They found that for every 80 minutes of the day that energy expenditure is at resting levels (excluding the eight hours of sleep they assumed) the risk of chronic kidney disease increased by 20 per cent. Even when the results were adjusted for type 2 diabetes, hypertension and obesity, the link between sedentary behaviour and kidney disease remained.
“Sedentary behaviour, which is not mere lack of moderate/vigorous physical activity, is likely an independent risk factor for chronic kidney disease,” said Srini Beddhu, one of the study’s lead authors. “It needs to be tested whether sedentary behaviour affects the progression of chronic kidney disease, and thereby increases the risk of end stage renal disease. Hence, interventions targeting sedentary behaviour to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease need to be conducted.”
Diabetes and the kidneys
Kidney disease is one of the most common complications of diabetes, affecting around 40 per cent of people with diabetes. When caused by diabetes, kidney disease is known as diabetic nephropathy. It’s important, therefore, that people with diabetes take great care to reduce their risk of kidney disease. According to this study, having a physically active lifestyle is one way to do that. Exercise has a number of other benefits for people with diabetes, including improved blood glucose control and lower risk of heart disease.
The findings will be presented at ASN Kidney Week in November, at the San Diego Convention Centre.

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