Metabolically Healthy Obesity and Development of Chronic Kidney Disease: A Cohort Study

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The risk for chronic kidney disease (CKD) among obese persons without obesity-related metabolic abnormalities, called metabolically healthy obesity, is largely unexplored.


To investigate the risk for incident CKD across categories of body mass index in a large cohort of metabolically healthy men and women.


Prospective cohort study.


Kangbuk Samsung Health Study, Kangbuk Samsung Hospital, Seoul, South Korea.


62 249 metabolically healthy, young and middle-aged men and women without CKD or proteinuria at baseline.


Metabolic health was defined as a homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance less than 2.5 and absence of any component of the metabolic syndrome. Underweight, normal weight, overweight, and obesity were defined as a body mass index less than 18.5 kg/m2, 18.5 to 22.9 kg/m2, 23 to 24.9 kg/m2, and 25 kg/m2 or greater, respectively. The outcome was incident CKD, defined as an estimated glomerular filtration rate less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m2.


During 369 088 person-years of follow-up, 906 incident CKD cases were identified. The multivariable-adjusted differences in 5-year cumulative incidence of CKD in underweight, overweight, and obese participants compared with normal-weight participants were −4.0 (95% CI, −7.8 to −0.3), 3.5 (CI, 0.9 to 6.1), and 6.7 (CI, 3.0 to 10.4) cases per 1000 persons, respectively. These associations were consistently seen in all clinically relevant subgroups.


Chronic kidney disease was identified by a single measurement at each visit.


Overweight and obesity are associated with an increased incidence of CKD in metabolically healthy young and middle-aged participants. These findings show that metabolically healthy obesity is not a harmless condition and that the obese phenotype, regardless of metabolic abnormalities, can adversely affect renal function.

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