Association between water intake, chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease: a cross-sectional analysis of NHANES data

Am J Nephrol. 2013;37(5):434-42. doi: 10.1159/000350377. Epub 2013 Apr 17.


Background: Evidence from animal and human studies suggests a protective effect of higher water intake on kidney function and cardiovascular disease (CVD). Here the associations between water intake, chronic kidney disease (CKD) and CVD were examined in the general population.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of the 2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Non-pregnant adults with an estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) ≥30 ml/min/1.73 m(2) who were not taking diuretics were included. Total water intake from foods and beverages was categorized as low (<2.0 l/day), moderate (2.0-4.3 l/day) and high (>4.3 l/day). We examined associations between low total water intake and CKD (eGFR 30-60 ml/min/1.73 m(2)) and self-reported CVD.

Results: Of 3,427 adults (mean age 46 (range 20-84); mean eGFR 95 ml/min/1.73 m(2) (range 30-161)), 13% had CKD and 18% had CVD. CKD was higher among those with the lowest (<2.0 l/day) vs. highest total water intake (>4.3 l/day) (adjusted odds ratio (OR) 2.52; 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.91-6.96). When stratified by intake of (1) plain water and (2) other beverages, CKD was associated with low intake of plain water: adjusted OR 2.36 (95% CI 1.10-5.06), but not other beverages: adjusted OR 0.87 (95% CI 0.30-2.50). There was no association between low water intake and CVD (adjusted OR 0.76; 95% CI 0.37-1.59).

Conclusions: Our results provide additional evidence suggesting a potentially protective effect of higher total water intake, particularly plain water, on the kidney.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Drinking*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult