Body Fat and Kidney Health: What You Should Know

It seems the obesity epidemic is making headlines everywhere these days. You can’t turn on the news without seeing a story on how Americans are growing larger, leading to diabetes, heart disease and other scary conditions. Since diabetes is the number one cause of chronic kidney disease, obesity is also an important factor in chronic kidney disease.

Type 2 diabetes used to occur mostly in individuals over 45. Now, the disease is becoming more common in younger people. This is a serious problem because it could cause complications such as heart disease and chronic kidney disease to happen at an earlier age. Being overweight or obese also increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. So what can you do? Read on to find out.

Losing excess weight helps to lower your risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure. In addition, losing excess weight can help to reduce your blood pressure if it is already high. In order to treat obesity and CKD, you should focus on three areas: healthy diet, physical activity and adequate sleep.

In terms of diet, focus on eating smaller portions; drinking water rather than sugary drinks; consuming the recommended amount of protein (0.8 gm/kg/body weight) since excess protein increases the kidneys’ work load; and minimizing salt intake to 2,300 milligrams/day for healthy young people and 1,500 milligrams/day for all Americans over age 50, or for younger people with diabetes, high blood pressure or CKD.

Physical activity is essential for healthy weight loss.  Exercise increases energy expenditure, promotes weight loss and helps sustain a healthy weight.  The goal to work towards is two hours and thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week.  This is usually spread out over the week in intervals of, 20-30 minutes at a time, or even less.

Adequate sleep promotes maintenance of a healthy weight. Most people require about 7 hours of sleep each night. Many studies suggest that irregular sleep patterns, eating before going to sleep and short sleep duration are all linked to obesity.

Healthy lifestyle and an environment promoting healthy eating and physical activity will help in the prevention and treatment of obesity which in turn can reduce the risk of CKD as well as heart disease and diabetes.

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