A high level of serum creatinine (S-Cr) is a predictor of end-stage renal disease (ESRD), but only a few studies have investigated the prevalence of high S-Cr and its correlates in a large population. We analyzed the data collected from 6,403 subjects (4,222 men and 2,181 women) who participated in the Okinawa General Health Maintenance Association (OGHMA) screening both at 1997 and 1999. The computer-saved data included sex, age, blood chemistries, blood pressure, medical histories, and lifestyles. Multivariate Cox proportional hazard analyses were performed to identify the correlates of developing high S-Cr levels: > or = 1.4 mg/dl in men and > or = 1.2 mg/dl in women. The prevalence of high S-Cr was 3.0% (N=193), which was 4.1% in men (N=175) and 0.8% in women (N=18), and increased with age in both sexes at the 1997 screening. Among those who showed normal levels of S-Cr in 1997 (N=6,210), 241 subjects (223 men and 18 women) developed high S-Cr. The 2-year cumulative incidence of high S-Cr was 5.5% in men and 0.8% in women. Other than sex, serum uric acid was the most significant correlate for developing high S-Cr. The adjusted relative risk (95% confidence interval) of those with serum uric acid 8.0 mg/dl and over was 2.91 (1.79-4.75) in men and 10.39 (1.91-56.62) in women when compared to those with serum uric acid less than 5.0 mg/dl. Prevalence of high levels of S-Cr was relatively high in men. Other than gender, serum uric acid was a significant positive correlate of developing high S-Cr in this sample of the Japanese population.