Prevalence of renal stones in a population-based study with dietary calcium, oxalate, and medication exposures

Am J Epidemiol. 1998 May 15;147(10):914-20. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a009381.


Little is known about the epidemiology of renal stones, in spite of the relative frequency of this painful condition. This population-based study examined reported renal stone diagnosis in 1,309 women aged 20-92 years to determine whether renal stones are associated with 1) food or water exposures or 2) lower bone mineral density and an increased likelihood of fractures. Results indicated a renal stone prevalence of 3.4%. The average age at diagnosis was 42 years. Renal stone formation was not associated with community of residence, hypertension, bone mineral density, fractures, high-oxalate food consumption, or ascorbic acid from food supplements. Women with renal stones consumed almost 250 mg/day less dietary calcium (p < 0.01) than did women without stones and had a lower energy intake (p < 0.04). The authors' findings do not support the hypothesis that increased dietary calcium is associated with a greater prevalence of renal stones, nor do they identify renal stones as a risk factor for low bone mineral density. Furthermore, lack of other identifiable environmental correlates and the relatively young age at initial diagnosis suggest that genetic components of renal stone formation need further study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Bone Density
  • Calcium / administration & dosage*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Energy Metabolism
  • Feeding Behavior*
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Iowa / epidemiology
  • Kidney Calculi / epidemiology*
  • Kidney Calculi / etiology
  • Life Style
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxalates / administration & dosage*
  • Oxalates / analysis
  • Prevalence
  • Risk Assessment
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Water Supply / analysis
  • Water Supply / statistics & numerical data*


  • Oxalates
  • Calcium