DaVita Medical Insights

Celebrating World Kidney Day by Addressing Obesity

Today is World Kidney Day and, in an effort to raise awareness about kidney health and disease, events have been underway around the world—from a World Kidney Day march in Zimbabwe to a kidney awareness Annual Fun Run in New Zealand.

This year’s World Kidney Day theme is kidney disease and obesity—which is extremely pertinent, as obesity is considered one of the leading causes of kidney disease. Individuals who are overweight or obese may have up to seven more chances of developing end stage renal disease than individuals with a healthy weight.

Obesity is a global concern. According to the World Health Organization, the number of obese individuals across the world has doubled since 1980. In 2014, more than 1.9 billion, or 39 percent of, adults were considered overweight and 600 million, or 13 percent, were considered obese. In some countries, obesity affects more than 1/3 of adults.

The rise in obesity can be largely attributed to an increase in the consumption of high-calorie, high-fat foods and a decrease in physical activity due to physically inactive jobs, sedentary modes of transportation and increasing urbanization. A continued focus on reducing caloric intake and increasing daily physical activity in obese individuals may ultimately help reverse or slow the progression of kidney disease.

For more information on obesity in relation to kidney disease and global efforts to address kidney disease, visit worldkidneyday.org.

Mahesh Krishnan, MD, MPH, MBA, FASN

Mahesh Krishnan, MD, MPH, MBA, FASN

Mahesh Krishnan, MD, is the chief medical officer of DaVita International and group vice president of research and development. Before joining DaVita, Dr. Krishnan served as medical director and global development leader for Amgen’s ESA Epogen, where he played a key role in discussions with the FDA and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. He was also the head of global health economics for nephrology at Amgen and executive director of medical policy for all Amgen projects. He currently serves on the editorial board of Nephrology News and Issues, has written two books and has more than 50 peer-reviewed publications. Dr. Krishnan earned his medical degree from Thomas Jefferson University and completed his internal medicine training at Georgetown and nephrology fellowship at Johns Hopkins. He also holds a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University and an MBA in medical services management from the Johns Hopkins Carey School of Business.