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Increased Physical Activity Linked To Lower Risk Of Kidney Stones

San Diego, CA, May 3, 2013- Postmenopausal women who increase their physical activity may reduce their risk of kidney stones, according to a new study at the 108th Annual Scientific Meeting of the American Urological Association (AUA). The study will be presented to the media during a special press conference on Saturday, May 4 at 11:30 a.m. at the San Diego Convention Center.

Kidney stones are a significant health concern with more than three million people visiting a health care provider and more than half a million visiting emergency rooms each year. While obesity is known to be a strong risk factor for kidney stone development, the role of physical activity and dietary energy intake in lowering this risk remains inadequately understood. Researchers from several leading institutions including University of California, San Francisco Medical Center, Georgetown University and University of Washington School of Medicine, conducted a study designed to evaluate the relationship between kidney stone formation and physical activity, dietary energy intake and body mass index (BMI).  

Researchers used data from the Women’s Health Initiative Observational Study and identified 85,225 postmenopausal women as participants. Adjusting for age, race, region, and dietary water, sodium, animal protein and calcium intake, data suggests:

  • Greater physical activity may reduce the risk of kidney stones in postmenopausal women by as much as 31 percent.
  • The amount of physical activity, rather than the intensity of the exercise is a key factor to the decrease of kidney stone risk in postmenopausal.
  • Modifying total daily caloric intake may be an important measure in the reduction of stone disease as higher dietary energy intake (high caloric foods) may increase the risk of developing stones by more than 40 percent.

“Kidney stones are a very common health condition, and as with most health conditions, prevention is key," said AUA spokesperson Kevin T. McVary, MD. “While we know diet is one of several factors that can promote or inhibit kidney stone development, this study shows lifestyle changes such as exercise can also help prevent stones from forming in postmenopausal women. Further research is needed to understand if this observation is accurate for other demographics.”

NOTE TO REPORTERS: Experts are available to discuss this study outside normal briefing times. To arrange an interview with an expert, please contact the AUA Communications Office at the number above or e-mail

About the American Urological Association: Founded in 1902 and headquartered near Baltimore, Maryland, the American Urological Association is a leading advocate for the specialty of urology, and has more than 19,000 members throughout the world. The AUA is a premier urologic association, providing invaluable support to the urologic community as it pursues its mission of fostering the highest standards of urologic care through education, research and the formulation of health policy.

Christine Frey, AUA