Does “Healthy Obesity” Really Exist For Chronic Kidney Disease Patients Who Conduct Dialysis?

Research is replete in findings that obese people are less healthy and die sooner, but the Obesity Paradox Theory rebuts such findings. Have you heard of this theory? Well Dr. Andrew Freeman (National Jewish Health Center Director)  explains the Obesity Paradox Theory comes from some studies which "suggest that there are overweight people out there that do not suffer from the same health problems that most obese people do (like high blood pressure, bad cholesterol, and elevated blood sugar)." What's more is that extensive research highlights this phenomenon in Dialysis patients specifically.

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In fact while obesity typically is associated with worse health outcomes in the generally population, Medscape reported that obesity has been, "associated with a lower mortality risk among Kidney Dialysis patients." You are likely thinking, "So I should aim to be overweight if I conduct Dialysis?"  Well not necessarily as some research suggests that the Obesity Paradox is a myth. 

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University College London  Lead Researcher, Joshua Bell, found that “Healthy obesity is something that’s a phase rather than something that’s enduring over time." Bell emphasized the fact that "It’s important to have a long-term view of healthy obesity, and to bear in mind the long-term tendencies. As long as obesity persists, health tends to decline. It does seem to be a high-risk state.”

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While this may be the case in the general population, researchers in the Dialysis community have found contrary results in Chronic Kidney Disease patients specifically who conduct Dialysis. Vanderbilt University Medical Center (Division of Nephrology) announced that their research indicated "that high values for Body Mass Index (BMI) are protective and associated with improved survival on Dialysis." 

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The obvious remaining question is, "Why is excess weight beneficial to Dialysis patients." The answer is that no one knows. While Medscape suggests that that there is a twist to the Obesity Paradox and it does not apply to younger Dialysis patients, but rather those who are over 65 years old, other research is less conclusive. 

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What is clear, however, is that for many Dialysis patients it can be frustrating and extremely worrisome to have an elevated BMI (over 30) and being considered obese. However, research should offer patients some relief. Yes, you should aim for a weight that will keep you healthy as well as active on the Kidney Transplant Waiting List (if you desire a Kidney Transplant). However, Dialysis patients should not kill themselves to lose weight or fall below their normal weight as both have been linked to higher rates of mortality. There is no "one weight that fits all" solution for Dialysis patients. Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetic patients should remain watchful of your Lab Results and work with their Healthcare Team to maintain a weight that works best for them.  

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Start by eating healthy every day. You can access FREE daily Impact Meals which are tailored for those with Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetes at, and for extra help click here to order the Life Management Guide - Fight Kidney Disease and Diabetes at's Choice of 2014). Visit every day for the Latest Breaking News & Information about how Chronic Kidney Disease and Diabetics can better manage their lives.

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"Resolved: Being Fat Is Good for Dialysis Patients: The Godzilla Effect: Pro." Http:// Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

"Older, Overweight Dialysis Patients Benefit From "Obesity Paradox"" Http:// Medscape Log.

"Does “Healthy Obesity” Really Exist?" Http:// Pioneer News.