Rather than focus on treating kidney diseases, organizers of this year’s World Kidney Day 2017 in the Philippines chose to highlight the prevention of kidney disease by promoting an active lifestyle and a healthy diet.

The theme of the celebration, held at the government kidney specialty centre - National Kidney and Transplant Institute (NKTI) - is a “Healthy Lifestyle for Healthy Kidneys.” The objective is to help defer obesity, a major risk factor in the development of precursors to chronic kidney diseases (CKD).

World Kidney Day is a worldwide annual CKD awareness campaign celebrated every second Thursday of March.

“The World Kidney Day plays a crucial role in educating the public, the medical community and governments and encouraging prevention and early detection of kidney disease,” the celebration’s proponents - International Society of Nephrologists (ISN) and International Federations of Kidney Foundations (IKNF) - wrote.


As it is, 10 percent of the global population is already affected by CKD and the role obesity plays in its development has been noted through various studies.

Obesity and kidney disease

The numbers are alarming. Some 600 million people around the world are obese, and a third of those are children, roughly 220 million. Obesity in children is associated with faster development of kidney disease.

In the Philippines, the 2013 survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) showed 31.1 percent of Filipinos are obese. This translates to 1 in 3 Filipinos having a Body Mass Index (BMI) of more than 30 kg/m.

The danger is that obese people have an 83 percent increased risk of developing CKD compared to those whose weights are generally in the recommended range for their height and who are generally active.

Obesity paves the way for the development of diabetes, hypertension, and kidney stones, all of which are major precursors of CKD and End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD).

Event highlights

Nephrologist Dr Richard T Hizon, WKD programme coordinator, told MIMS they opted for prevention rather than cure because obesity is largely preventable. By addressing the condition, they can hopefully decrease the risks associated with precursors such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular diseases and ultimately, kidney diseases.

The programme, facilitated by Dr Tanya Depaynos, featured talks on obesity and kidney disease by specialists and included a demonstration of a 4-minute exercise routine (10 jumping jacks, 10 squats, 10 wall push-ups, and 10 lunges) from celebrity fitness coaches Jim and Toni Saret, and a free sampling of healthy meals prepared by NKTI’s Nutrition and Dietetics Division.

One of the guest speakers, Dr Maaliddin Biruar, discussed the “8 Golden Rules for a Healthy Life,” which leans heavily on lifestyle habits to prevent the development of kidney diseases.

Kidney and fitness experts at the World Kidney  Day celebration
Kidney and fitness experts at the World Kidney Day celebration

Attendees that included patients and their families, sponsors and a dozen kidney specialists and fitness experts, have been reminded to a) keep fit and active; b) control blood sugar; c) eat healthy by limiting salt intake from 5 to 6 grams per day; d) keep blood pressure at an ideal level; e) avoid smoking; f) proper fluid intake; g) avoid overly frequent use of OTC medicines; and h) regular consultations for patients with precursor conditions.

Physically active elderly

Pulmonologist and ER-OPD Chair of the Lung Center of the Philippines, Dr Daphne Bate, herself a gym and dance enthusiast, talked on physical activities for the elderly.

“The sedentary lifestyle of this age group is becoming a problem,” she said. “This results to loss of balance, depression, dementia, weight gain, and heart diseases.”

Dr Bate said for the elderly to stay physically active, they must aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week. Broken down, this is 30 minutes per day for 5 days a week, or 75 minutes of vigorous activity for over a week.

It is vital to engage in activities that work the muscles, she said, citing gardening as example because it involves lifting. Moreover, the elderly need to reduce the amount of time spent watching television or using the computer.

Instead, going outdoors to walk is more beneficial as it will result to developing a healthier heart and stronger bones, and reducing the risk of chronic diseases. At the same time, staying physically active means improved healing function, improved flexibility, increased balance and stability, life expectancy and more importantly is maintaining independence. MIMS

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