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Scientists at the University of Oxford have discovered that obesity can increase the chances of someone developing kidney disease.

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Funded by Kidney Research UK and the Medical Research Council, this new study has found that fat all over the body increases risk, not just fat around the middle (tummy fat), and suggests controlling weight could be a new way to manage kidney disease risk. This research, co-led by Nuffield Department of Population Health researcher Professor Will Herrington, was published today in the Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Previous studies have found that obesity is linked with an increased risk of kidney disease. But it wasn’t clear whether obesity directly caused kidney disease or whether other factors were involved, such as more salt in people’s diet.

In this latest research, the team studied almost 300,000 DNA samples from the UK Biobank. They searched over 1,000 genetic variations known to predispose people to a higher overall body mass index (BMI) or more abdominal fat deposition (fat around the middle). People with these gene variations are more likely to become overweight or obese because they inherit these genes.

The full story is available on the University of Oxford website