Background: Low birth weight (LBW) is a risk factor for chronic kidney disease (CKD) in later life and is becoming increasingly common in developed countries, including Japan. Furthermore, a serial decrease in birth weight has been associated with an increasing prevalence of CKD stage 2 in male Japanese adolescents. Sex-specific differences affect CKD susceptibility, and the association between birth weight and CKD in women, has not been elucidated. In this study, we investigated the sex-specific effect of LBW on renal function. Methods: Annual cross-sectional data of 2417 Japanese adolescents (males 1736; females 681), aged 15–16 years, were evaluated over 8 years (2007–2014). Results: Over the study period, mean birth weights decreased significantly in males (p < 0.01) and females (p < 0.05). Furthermore, both sexes showed significant decrease in estimated glomerular filtration rates corresponding to the birth weight reduction. The prevalence of CKD stage 2 also increased in males (from 26.0 to 32.4%, p < 0.01) and females (from 6.3 to 18.5%, p < 0.05). The incidence of CKD stage 2 was significantly related to history of LBW (males: odds ratio 1.73; 95% confidence interval 1.06–2.80; p < 0.05; females: odds ratio 3.29; 95% confidence interval 1.25–8.02; p < 0.05). Conclusions: Our data revealed that renal function and birth weight have decreased over time, in healthy Japanese adolescents. In view of the recent declining trend demonstrated by birth weight in Japan, we speculate that the prevalence of CKD might increase in the future.
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