Mediators of the association between low socioeconomic status and chronic kidney disease in the United States

Am J Epidemiol. 2015 Mar 15;181(6):385-96. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwu316. Epub 2015 Mar 1.


Using data collected from 9,823 participants in the 2007-2008 and 2009-2010 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, we formally investigated potentially modifiable factors linking low socioeconomic status (SES) to chronic kidney disease (CKD) for their presence and magnitude of mediation. SES was defined using the poverty income ratio. The main outcome was CKD, defined as estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/minute/1.73 m(2) (using the Chronic Kidney Disease Epidemiology Collaboration equation) and/or urinary albumin:creatinine ratio ≥30 mg/g. In mediation analyses, we tested the contributions of health-related behaviors (smoking, alcohol intake, diet, physical activity, and sedentary time), comorbid conditions (diabetes, hypertension, obesity, abdominal obesity, and hypercholesterolemia), and access to health care (health insurance and routine health-care visits) to this association. Except for sedentary time and diet, all examined health-related behaviors, comorbid conditions, and factors related to health-care access mediated the low SES-CKD association and contributed 20%, 32%, and 11%, respectively, to this association. In race/ethnicity-specific analyses, identified mediators tended to explain more of the association between low SES and CKD in non-Hispanic blacks than in other racial/ethnic groups. In conclusion, potentially modifiable factors like health-related behaviors, comorbid conditions, and health-care access contribute substantially to the association between low SES and CKD in the United States, especially among non-Hispanic blacks.

Keywords: chronic kidney disease; mediation; socioeconomic status.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ethnicity / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Services Accessibility
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / psychology
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Class*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • White People / statistics & numerical data