Obesity is a known risk factor for hypertension and diabetes, both of which ultimately promote renal dysfunction. In the current study, we investigated the association between body mass index (BMI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) in 8,168 Japanese individuals (2,924 women, 5,244 men) who underwent general health screening. CKD was diagnosed if the estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was less than 60 mL/min/1.73 m(2) (designated as low eGFR) and/or if the urinary albumin/creatinine value was equal to or greater than 30 mg/g (designated as albuminuria). Logistic regression analysis adjusted for age, systolic blood pressure, fasting glucose, and smoking habits showed that, in men, both overweight (BMI 25-29 kg/m(2)) and obesity (BMI >or=30 kg/m(2)) were associated with increased prevalence of low eGFR and albuminuria, whereas, in women, obesity was associated with albuminuria, but neither overweight nor obesity was associated with low eGFR. After multivariate adjustment, logistic regression analysis showed that BMI had a graded association with both low eGFR and albuminuria in men. On the other hand, in women, the second and third BMI quartiles were associated with a lower prevalence of albuminuria in comparison with the first BMI quartile. Essentially the same results were obtained when the subjects were subdivided according to the presence and absence of hypertension. Our data showed that overweight and obesity were associated with increased risk for CKD in Japanese individuals undergoing a general health screening, irrespective of the presence or absence of hypertension, although there was a gender difference in these associations.