A significant increase in the prevalence of end-stage renal disease (ESRD) has been reported over the last three decades, paralleling the increasing prevalence of obesity and insulin resistance, also in the pediatric population. Overweight, obesity and the metabolic syndrome, which frequently coexist, contribute substantially to cardiovascular disease and ESRD. A higher body mass index, the presence of type 2 diabetes, hypertension and, of particular importance, reduced insulin sensitivity (IS), have recently emerged as strong independent risk factors for chronic kidney disease and ESRD. Of particular concern, the long-term cardiovascular impact of obesity, although deferred to adult life, has its origins in childhood. Clustering of cardiovascular risk factors is seen in children and adolescents with the highest degree of reduced IS, suggesting that adult consequences of obesity on target organs, including the kidney, are more likely to develop in these young people. This review will discuss the association between obesity and the risk of kidney disease, focusing on the way in which obesity and its metabolic complications may lead to renal involvement and injury, with particular regard to childhood. It is beyond the scope of this article to examine kidney disease as a component of syndromes that result in obesity in childhood.
Copyright 2010 S. Karger AG, Basel.