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Obesity -- mild or severe -- raises kidney stone risk
Date:2/17/2010

Obesity in general nearly doubles the risk of developing kidney stones, but the degree of obesity doesn't appear to increase or decrease the risk one way or the other, a new study from Johns Hopkins shows.

"The common thinking was that as weight rises, kidney stone risk rises as well, but our study refutes that," says study leader Brian R. Matlaga, assistant professor of urology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and director of stone diseases and ambulatory care at Hopkins' James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute. "Whether someone is mildly obese or morbidly obese, the risk for getting kidney stones is the same."

The findings are published in the February Journal of Urology.

Over the last decade, several epidemiological studies have shown a strong connection between obesity and kidney stone disease. However, as obesity continues to rise worldwide, Matlaga and his colleagues wondered whether different subcategories of obesity, ranging from mildly to morbidly obese, presented different risks.

To answer the question, the researchers used a national insurance claims database to identify 95,598 people who had completed a "health risk assessment" form with information about their body mass index (BMI), a measure of body fat calculated by dividing weight by height, and a general indicator of underweight, healthy weight, or overweight. The database, which spanned over a five-year period from 2002 to 2006, also had encoded information indicating whether these individuals had been diagnosed with kidney stone disease.

Using a definition of obesity as having a BMI greater than 30 kg/m2 (which, in English measurements, corresponds to a 5 foot tall person who weighs 153 pounds, or a 6 foot tall person who weighs 221 pounds), the researchers calculated the incidence of kidney stones in people who were non-obese and in those who were obese. Among the non-obese individuals, 2.6 percent were diagnosed durin
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Contact: Christen Brownlee
cbrownlee@jhmi.edu
410-955-7832
Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions
Source:Eurekalert

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