Relationship between educational and occupational levels, and Chronic Kidney Disease in a multi-ethnic sample- The HELIUS study

PLoS One. 2017 Nov 1;12(11):e0186460. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0186460. eCollection 2017.


Background: Ethnic minority groups in high-income countries are disproportionately affected by Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) for reasons that are unclear. We assessed the association of educational and occupational levels with CKD in a multi-ethnic population. Furthermore, we assessed to what extent ethnic inequalities in the prevalence of CKD were accounted for by educational and occupational levels.

Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from the Healthy Life in an Urban Setting (HELIUS) study of 21,433 adults (4,525 Dutch, 3,027 South-Asian Surinamese, 4,105 African Surinamese, 2,314 Ghanaians, 3,579 Turks, and 3,883 Moroccans) aged 18 to 70 years living in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. Three CKD outcomes were considered using the 2012 KDIGO (Kidney Disease: Improving Global Outcomes) severity of CKD classification. Comparisons between educational and occupational levels were made using logistic regression analyses.

Results: After adjustment for sex and age, low-level and middle-level education were significantly associated with higher odds of high to very high-risk of CKD in Dutch (Odds Ratio (OR) 2.10, 95% C.I., 1.37-2.95; OR 1.55, 95% C.I., 1.03-2.34). Among ethnic minority groups, low-level education was significantly associated with higher odds of high to very-high-risk CKD but only in South-Asian Surinamese (OR 1.58, 95% C.I., 1.06-2.34). Similar results were found for the occupational level in relation to CKD risk.

Conclusion: The lower educational and occupational levels of ethnic minority groups partly accounted for the observed ethnic inequalities in CKD. Reducing CKD risk in ethnic minority populations with low educational and occupational levels may help to reduce ethnic inequalities in CKD and its related complications.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status*
  • Ethnicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / ethnology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Occupations*
  • Prevalence
  • Young Adult

Grants and funding

This work was supported by the Dutch Heart Foundation, the Netherlands Organization for Health Research and Development (ZonMw), and the European Union (Seventh Framework Program [FP7]). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.