Additional evidence has emerged to support the benefits of weight loss in individuals with kidney disease.

Obesity is known to be an independent risk factor for the development and progression of chronic kidney disease (CKD), a condition that now afflicts more than 20 million Americans. To assess the benefits of intentional weight loss in people with non-dialysis-dependent CKD, nephrologist Sankar Navaneethan, MD, and colleagues at Cleveland Clinic conducted a systematic review of 13 relevant reports in the literature (Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2009; 4:1565-1574). This mix of randomized, controlled trials and observational studies examined various surgical and nonsurgical weight-loss interventions in adults with CKD.

The findings revealed that among obese patients, weight loss achieved through diet and exercise reduced proteinuria, which is a hallmark of kidney damage, and could prevent further loss of kidney function. A similar benefit was observed regarding surgical weight-loss interventions, including gastric bypass, gastroplasty, and biliopancreatic diversion. These procedures were helpful in normalizing glomerular filtration rates in the damaged kidneys of obese patients.