This year, the World Kidney Day campaign is stressing the link between obesity and kidney disease.

Over 661,000 Americans have kidney failure, 468,000 of them undergo dialysis, and around 193,000 live with a functioning kidney transplant. In 2013, more than 47,000 Americans died from kidney disease.

A social issue

Obesity can induce or worsen diabetes and hypertension, seen as well-recognized risk factors for kidney disease. In turn, it places an unduly high burden on the kidneys in the long term, causing inflammation and oxidation, and increasing the chance of developing kidney stones or cancer.

Adult obesity rates in the United States now exceed 35 percent in four states, 30 percent in 25 states and are above 20 percent in all states. Overall, more than one-third of U.S. adults are obese.

“Obesity is preventable and treatable, but reversing the tide will require concerted efforts not just from healthcare providers, but from the entire society,” explains Dr. Csaba Kovesdy, from University of Tennessee Health Science Center and the Memphis Veterans Affairs Medical Center.

“Consuming plenty of fluid, especially from non-sweetened beverages, helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body.”

Raising awareness

Advocating for a healthy lifestyle and an increase in targeted health policy measures, health communities worldwide hope prevention will become the most affordable and efficient option to tackle the burden of obesity and kidney disease.

It is now clear that successful weight loss helps control diabetes and high blood pressure, and it can lower the risk for developing chronic kidney disease.

Doctors recommend keeping fit to reduce blood pressure, lose weight and improve metabolic functions. The World Health Organization says children should engage in 60 minutes of physical activity a day. Adults should exercise 150 minutes a week.

Adopting a healthy low-salt diet goes a long way towards preventing the onset of kidney disease. Consuming plenty of fluid, especially from non-sweetened beverages, helps the kidneys clear sodium, urea and toxins from the body.

Getting adequate sleep is important to maintain a healthy weight. Most people require about seven hours of sleep each night. Many studies suggest that irregular sleep patterns, eating before sleep and short sleep duration are all linked to obesity.