The association of exercise and sedentary behaviours with incident end-stage renal disease: the Southern Community Cohort Study

BMJ Open. 2019 Aug 30;9(8):e030661. doi: 10.1136/bmjopen-2019-030661.


Objective: To examine whether lifestyle factors, including sedentary time and physical activity, could independently contribute to risk of end-stage renal disease (ESRD).

Study design: Case-cohort study.

Setting: South-eastern USA.

Participants: The Southern Community Cohort Study recruited ~86 000 black and white participants from 2002 to 2009. We assembled a case cohort of 692 incident ESRD cases and a probability sample of 4113 participants.

Predictors: Sedentary time was calculated as hours/day from daily sitting activities. Physical activity was calculated as metabolic equivalent (MET)-hours/day from engagement in light, moderate and vigorous activities.

Outcomes: Incident ESRD.

Results: At baseline, among the subcohort, mean (SD) age was 52 (8.6) years, and median (25th, 75th centile) estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) was 102.8 (85.9-117.9) mL/min/1.73 m2. Medians (25th-75th centile) for sedentary time and physical activity were 8.0 (5.5-12.0) hours/day and 17.2 (8.7-31.9) MET-hours/day, respectively. Median follow-up was 9.4 years. We observed significant interactions between eGFR and both physical activity and sedentary behaviour (p<0.001). The partial effect plot of the association between physical activity and log relative hazard of ESRD suggests that ESRD risk decreases as physical activity increases when eGFR is 90 mL/min/1.73 m2. The inverse association is most pronounced at physical activity levels >27 MET-hours/day. High levels of sitting time were associated with increased ESRD risk only among those with reduced kidney function (eGFR ≤30 mL/min/1.73 m2); this association was attenuated after excluding the first 2 years of follow-up.

Conclusions: In a population with a high prevalence of chronic kidney disease risk factors such as hypertension and diabetes, physical activity appears to be associated with reduced risk of ESRD among those with preserved kidney function. A positive association between sitting time and ESRD observed among those with advanced kidney disease is likely due to reverse causation.

Keywords: end stage renal disease; physical activity; sedentary time.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cohort Studies
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Health Behavior*
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / physiopathology
  • Kidney Failure, Chronic / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Renal Insufficiency / prevention & control
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior*
  • Southeastern United States