Kidney Charities Join Forces to Help Educate Youngsters

Two of the UK’s leading kidney charities have joined forces to help teachers educate young children about the importance of kidney health.

Kidney Research UK and Kids Kidney Research fund medical research into the treatment and prevention of kidney disease and have produced a special information pack which aims to teach children at key stages one and two about their kidneys.

The pack, which is available as a free online resource for all schools, contains fundamental information about what the kidneys do, how they function and why they are important.

In addition to activities, games and quizzes, the pack contains links to useful websites and even a short video about a young kidney patient called Martha, who is waiting to receive a transplant.

It is hoped introducing the subject of kidney health to children at an early age and in a way which is both fun and engaging, will have a positive impact on kidney disease in the UK in years to come.

Professor Neil Turner, Chairman of Kidney Research UK, said: “We have identified a clear need to begin educating children about their kidneys at a young age.

“There has been a significant rise in the number of people developing kidney disease because of lifestyle factors such as poor diet and lack of exercise. This problem is being made worse by a lack of awareness about basic kidney health among most adults.

“Improving children’s understanding of their kidneys and the importance of kidney health, even in a very small way, could have a major impact in reducing the threat of kidney disease in this country.”

There are currently three million people in the UK at risk from chronic kidney disease (CKD), which can affect anyone of any age. At the beginning of 2010, there were 751 children under the age of 16 receiving some form of treatment for kidney failure in the UK.

Professor Robert Kleta, a researcher for Kids Kidney Research, said: “Kidney failure in children is devastating, as it disrupts physical and social growth and development.

“Kids Kidney Research provides the vital seed money that enables us to develop new ideas to prevent or treat kidney disease in children. This ranges from basic science research to better understand kidney function to clinical improvements, such as setting up a transition clinic involving adult and paediatric nephrologists to better care for adolescents with kidney disease.”

The schools pack is available to download for free at: www.kidneyresearchuk.org or: www.kidskidneyresearch.org