Background. Risk factors in childhood create a life-long burden important in the development of cardiovascular (CV) disease in adulthood. Many risk factors for CV disease (e.g., hypertension) also increase the risk of renal disease. However, the importance of childhood risk factors on the development of chronic kidney disease and end-stage renal disease (ESRD) is not well characterized. Methods. The current observations include data from Bogalusa Heart Study participants who were examined multiple times as children between 1973 and 1988. Results. Through 2006, fifteen study participants subsequently developed ESRD in adulthood; seven with no known overt cause. Although the Bogalusa Heart Study population is 63% white and 37% black and 51% male and 49% female, all seven ESRD cases with no known overt cause were black males (p < 0.001). Mean age-adjusted systolic and diastolic blood pressure in childhood was higher among the ESRD cases (114.5 mmHg and 70.1 mmHg, respectively) compared to black (103.0 mmHg and 62.3 mmHg, respectively) and white (mean = 103.3 mmHg and 62.3 mmHg, respectively) boys who didn't develop ESRD. The mean age-adjusted body mass index in childhood was 23.5 kg/m2 among ESRD cases and 18.6 kg/m2 and 18.9 kg/m2 among black and white boys who didn't develop ESRD, respectively. Plasma glucose in childhood was not significantly associated with ESRD. Conclusion. These data suggest black males have an increased risk of ESRD in young adulthood. Elevated body mass index and blood pressure in childhood may increase the risk for developing ESRD as young adults. © 2009 Muntner et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.