Obesity, weight gain, and the risk of kidney stones

JAMA. 2005 Jan 26;293(4):455-62. doi: 10.1001/jama.293.4.455.


Context: Larger body size may result in increased urinary excretion of calcium, oxalate, and uric acid, thereby increasing the risk for calcium-containing kidney stones. It is unclear if obesity increases the risk of stone formation, and it is not known if weight gain influences risk.

Objective: To determine if weight, weight gain, body mass index (BMI), and waist circumference are associated with kidney stone formation.

Design, setting, and participants: A prospective study of 3 large cohorts: the Health Professionals Follow-up Study (N = 45,988 men; age range at baseline, 40-75 years), the Nurses' Health Study I (N = 93,758 older women; age range at baseline, 34-59 years), and the Nurses' Health Study II (N = 101,877 younger women; age range at baseline, 27-44 years).

Main outcome measures: Incidence of symptomatic kidney stones.

Results: We documented 4827 incident kidney stones over a combined 46 years of follow-up. After adjusting for age, dietary factors, fluid intake, and thiazide use, the relative risk (RR) for stone formation in men weighing more than 220 lb (100.0 kg) vs men less than 150 lb (68.2 kg) was 1.44 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.11-1.86; P = .002 for trend). In older and younger women, RRs for these weight categories were 1.89 (95% CI, 1.52-2.36; P<.001 for trend) and 1.92 (95% CI, 1.59-2.31; P<.001 for trend), respectively. The RR in men who gained more than 35 lb (15.9 kg) since age 21 years vs men whose weight did not change was 1.39 (95% CI, 1.14-1.70; P = .001 for trend). Corresponding RRs for the same categories of weight gain since age 18 years in older and younger women were 1.70 (95% CI, 1.40-2.05; P<.001 for trend) and 1.82 (95% CI, 1.50-2.21; P<.001 for trend). Body mass index was associated with the risk of kidney stone formation: the RR for men with a BMI of 30 or greater vs those with a BMI of 21 to 22.9 was 1.33 (95% CI, 1.08-1.63; P<.001 for trend). Corresponding RRs for the same categories of BMI in older and younger women were 1.90 (95% CI, 1.61-2.25; P<.001 for trend) and 2.09 (95% CI, 1.77-2.48; P<.001 for trend). Waist circumference was also positively associated with risk in men (P = .002 for trend) and in older and younger women (P<.001 for trend for both).

Conclusions: Obesity and weight gain increase the risk of kidney stone formation. The magnitude of the increased risk may be greater in women than in men.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Diet
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Obesity / complications*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk
  • Waist-Hip Ratio
  • Weight Gain*