Waist circumference and body mass index (BMI) may be as reliable as direct measures of different types of body fat for assessing an individual’s risk of developing chronic kidney disease, according to a study, entitled “Comparison between Different Measures of Body Fat with Kidney Function Decline and Incident Chronic Kidney Disease,” published in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

Magdalena Madero, MD, from the National Heart Institute in Mexico City, and her colleagues examined information from computed tomography scans on 2,489 Health Aging and Body Composition Study participants who had normal kidney function and an average age of 74 years.

The scans measured visceral abdominal fat, subcutaneous fat, and intermuscular fat. The team also collected patient data on BMI and waist circumference.

CKD developed in 17% of participants over a median follow-up of nine years. Visceral fat, intermuscular fat, BMI, and waist circumference—but not subcutaneous fat—were all associated with kidney function decline and the development of CKD.

“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,” said Madero.

Study co-authors include Ronit Katz, DPhil, Rachel Murphy, MD, Anne Newman, MD, MPH, Kushang Patel, PhD, Joe Ix, MD, MAS, FASN, Carmen Peralta, MD, MAS, Suzanne Satterfield, PhD, Linda Fried, MD, Michael Shlipak, MD, MPH, and Mark Sarnak, MD, MS.