High muscle-to-fat ratio is associated with lower risk of chronic kidney disease development

Jong Hyun Jhee, Young Su Joo, Seong Hyeok Han, Tae Hyun Yoo, Shin Wook Kang, Jung Tak Park

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Obesity, a known risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD), is generally assessed using body mass index (BMI). However, BMI may not effectively reflect body composition, and the impact of muscle-to-fat (MF) mass balance on kidney function has not been elucidated. This study evaluated the association between body muscle and fat mass balance, represented as the MF ratio, and incident CKD development. Methods: Data were retrieved from a prospective community-based cohort study (Korean Genome and Epidemiology Study). Muscle and fat mass were measured using multifrequency bioelectrical impedance analysis. The study endpoint was incident CKD (estimated glomerular filtration rate <60 mL/min/1.73 m2 in at least two or more consecutive measurements during the follow-up period). Results: Totally, 7682 participants were evaluated. Their mean age was 51.7 ± 8.7 years, and 48% of the subjects were men. During a median follow-up of 140.0 (70.0–143.0) months, 633 (8.2%) subjects developed incident CKD. When the association between body composition and incident CKD was investigated, multivariable Cox proportional hazard analysis revealed that increase in MF ratio was related with a decreased risk of CKD development [per 1 increase in MF ratio: hazard ratio (HR), 0.86; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.77–0.96; P = 0.008]. This association was also maintained when MF ratio was dichotomized according to sex-specific median values (high vs. low: HR, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.70–0.98; P = 0.031). Analyses preformed in a propensity score matched group also revealed a similar decreased risk of incident CKD in high MF ratio participants (high vs. low: HR, 0.84; 95% CI, 0.71–0.98; P = 0.037). This relationship between MF ratio and incident CKD risk was consistently significant across subgroups stratified by age, sex, hypertension, estimated glomerular filtration rate categories, and proteinuria. Among different BMI groups (normal, overweight, and obese), the relationship between high MF ratio and lower incident CKD risk was significant only in overweight and obese subjects. Conclusions: Lower fat mass relative to muscle mass may lower the risk of CKD development in individuals with normal renal function. This relationship seems more prominent in overweight and obese subjects than in normal weight subjects.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)726-734
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 1

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 The Authors. Journal of Cachexia, Sarcopenia and Muscle published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd on behalf of Society on Sarcopenia, Cachexia and Wasting Disorders

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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