Higher amounts of body fat were linked to an increased risk of chronic kidney disease (CKD) in elderly people, a study published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology found. Additionally, simple ways of measuring body size, such as waist circumference (WC) and body mass index (BMI), are as effective as more sophisticated methods of measuring the risk of kidney function decline in elderly people. The study is titled, “Comparison Between Different Measures of Body Fat with Kidney Function Decline and Incident CKD. The prevalence of CKD has increased in recent decades, following the same pattern as an increase in the prevalence of obesity. Studies have shown that obesity is a major cause of diabetes and hypertension, which are also associated with the development of CKD. In addition to this indirect relation between obesity and CKD, some studies have suggested that obesity can be an independent risk factor for the development of CKD. Higher BMI has been associated with the prevalence of CKD. However, BMI measurements are only indicative of excess fat storage and do not indicate where fat is stored, a detail that could have major health implications. To determine the importance of fat measurement in CKD development and assessment, researchers from the National Heart Institute in Mexico City studied different fat deposit sites, including visceral abdominal fat (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and intermuscular fat area (IMAT), via computed tomography (CT) scans. The study included 2,489 participants whose average age was 74, from the Health Aging and Body Composition Study. Researchers compared measurements of the participants to general fat accumulation data, including WC and BMI, and the relation to CKD risk. The results showed that all fat measurements were similarly associated with an increased risk of kidney function decline. Increased levels of VAT, BMI, and WC were found to be associated with increased risk of CKD development. “Although we hypothesized that direct measures of body fat would provide a better risk estimate for kidney function decline, we found that anthropometric measures of body fat such as BMI appear to provide similar estimates,” the study’s lead author, Magdalena Madero, MD, said in a press release. The results further confirm the link between obesity and CKD and obesity’s importance as an independent risk factor for CKD in elderly people. Due to the ages of study participants, the findings may not be generalizable to a younger population. Further studies are needed to address this hypothesis.