Obesity poses a major challenge for nephrologists and patients alike, and its prevalence among patients with kidney disease is increasing at least as fast as in the general population. Although the body mass index (BMI) is the most commonly used measurement of excess adiposity, it has important limitations that can be ameliorated by incorporating other markers of body composition. The influence of obesity on outcomes in patients undergoing dialysis and kidney transplantation is of great interest. Although the preponderance of epidemiologic data suggests that, at least in patients undergoing dialysis, obesity has a neutral or protective effect on mortality, although this has not been confirmed in interventional studies needed to establish causality. The effect of obesity on other important outcomes such as quality of life has yet to be determined, and much less information on obesity and outcomes is available in the kidney transplantation population. Similarly, research on the optimal strategies and effects of weight loss in dialysis and kidney transplantation patients is at a nascent stage.
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