The Zuni kidney project: a collaborative approach to an epidemic of kidney disease. Academic Article uri icon


  • There is an epidemic of renal disease among the Zuni Indians. In contrast to most other American-Indian communities, the epidemic of renal disease among the Zuni Indians reflects high rates of diabetic and nondiabetic renal disease. Almost every Zuni Indian has a relative with end-stage renal disease. This epidemic offers a unique opportunity to advance our understanding of the risk factors for the susceptibility and/or progression of renal disease. Thus, Zuni Tribal leaders formed a research partnership with the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, Indian Health Service, Southwest Foundation for Biomedical Research and Dialysis Clinic Inc., to establish the Zuni Kidney Project (ZKP). The ZKP conducted a population-based, cross-sectional survey of the Zuni Pueblo. Age and gender distributions among survey participants were similar to those of the eligible Zuni population. Among diabetics the prevalence (95% confidence interval) of incipient albuminuria (IA) was 32.3% (25.1, 39.5) in women and 36.1% (24.7, 47.5) in men. The prevalence of IA among nondiabetics was 9.3% (6.9, 11.7) in women and 12.2% (9.7, 14.7) in men. Among diabetics, the prevalence of overt albuminuria (OA) was 17.7% (11.9, 23.5) in women and 20.8% (11.4, 30.2) in men. Among nondiabetics, OA was present in 1.2% (0.3, 2.1) of women and 2.3% (1.1, 3.5) of men. Although IA and OA were each more common among diabetics, the majority of participants with albuminuria were nondiabetics. Hematuria was common among both diabetics and nondiabetics. Among diabetics, the crude prevalence of hematuria was similar among men and women. Among nondiabetics, however, hematuria was more common among women. Diabetes and obesity were more common among women than men. In contrast, hypertension and hypercholesterolemia were more common among men than women. The ZKP is incorporating these preliminary data into planning for the development and implementation of primary and secondary prevention programs.

publication date

  • July 2003