Obesity Keeps More Blacks From Donating
“Obesity is a growing problem in the African-American community, particularly among women, and this reflects what we found in the study,” said study investigator Amber Reeves-Daniel, DO, an instructor at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in
Dr. Reeves-Daniel and her colleagues reviewed donor questionnaires and charts from 541 disqualified potential donors and found that about 30% of African Americans were excluded because of obesity—defined as a BMI of 32 kg/m2 or greater—compared with 16.6% of whites.
In addition, 12% of African Americans were excluded because they did not entirely complete the evaluation process, compared with 1.8% of whites surveyed. More whites were excluded for kidney stones than blacks (7.3% vs. 1.5%).
African Americans represent 12% of the
“Further study of these differences may improve our understanding of the causes of low rates of living kidney donation among African Americans, particularly regarding the social issues,” Dr. Reeves-Daniel said. “Is it lack of trust in the medical community, financial inability to get to doctors' appointments for certain tests, concerns with work and child-care scheduling, or perhaps some other issue?”
The researchers also found that more women than men of both races did not donate because of reduced renal function (7.9% for women vs. 0.9% for men). In addition, more women (6.4%) than men (1.8%) were excluded as a result of not completing the donation process. “I did find this kind of surprising because more women successfully donate than men, at a rate of 58% vs. 42%,” Dr. Reeves-Daniel observed.
The researchers said this study should serve as a wake-up call for clinicians. Study co-investigator Erica Hartmann, MD, assistant professor in the department of internal medicine/nephrology at
Some potential donors with higher BMIs may need to be considered in some cases, she said. In addition, she called for “targeted education strategies for the African-American donors who are interested to see if we can help them get through the process.”