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Updated: February 20, 2010 21:04 IST

Obesity raises kidney stone risk

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A file photo of students participating in a walkathon in Coimbatore as part of the World Obesity Week observance. Photo: M. Periasamy.
THE HINDU A file photo of students participating in a walkathon in Coimbatore as part of the World Obesity Week observance. Photo: M. Periasamy.

It’s time you put a check on your weight as obesity, whether in mild or morbid form, doubles the risk of developing kidney stones, according to scientists.

“Whether someone is mildly obese or morbidly obese, the risk of getting kidney stones is the same,” says study leader Brian R. Matlaga, Assistant Professor of urology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

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.

Accordingly, 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)

It is 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 encoded information indicating whether these individuals had been diagnosed with kidney stone disease, says a John Hopkins release.

Matlaga says that he and colleagues aren’t sure why obese people are more at risk for kidney stones, though metabolic or endocrine factors unique to obesity are likely reasons, along with dietary factors such as a high-salt diet.

The findings were published in the February issue of the Journal of Urology.

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