Childhood Obesity Ups NAFLD Risk in Adulthood

(HealthDay News) — Childhood adiposity is associated with increased odds of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to a study published online March 29 in Pediatrics.

Yinkun Yan, Ph.D., from the Capital Institute of Pediatrics in Beijing, and colleagues followed 1,350 subjects (aged 28 to 45 years) from 2010 to 2014 from an original cohort of children aged 6 to 18 years. Body mass index (BMI) and subscapular skinfold thickness were used to define childhood overweight and obesity.

The researchers found that, compared with normal-weight children, overweight and obese children were more likely to have adult NAFLD (males: odds ratios, 2.49 and 2.78 for BMI and subscapular skinfold thickness, respectively; females: odds ratios, 3.34 and 3.61, respectively; all P < 0.001), and to have elevation in alanine aminotransferase (ALT) (males: odds ratios, 1.64 and 1.66, respectively; females: odds ratios, 2.12 and 3.01, respectively; all P < 0.05). Subjects who were obese in adulthood were more likely to have NAFLD and ALT elevation in adulthood in both sexes, irrespective of their childhood obesity, compared with those who had normal weight in childhood and were nonobese in adulthood. The likelihood of having NAFLD and ALT elevation in adulthood for both sexes was similar for subjects who were overweight or obese in childhood but became nonobese in adulthood.

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“The risk associated with increased weight during childhood can be mitigated by becoming nonobese in adulthood,” the authors write.

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