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Research Updates | Liver Disease

Childhood Adiposity Trajectories and Risk of Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Adolescents

01 / 01 / 70

Ayonrinde OT et al examined the associations between anthropometry and adiposity trajectories from birth through childhood and adolescence, and a subsequent diagnosis of NAFLD at 17 years of age.

This study used data from the Raine cohort in Western Australia, where 2868 live-born children were followed between 1989 and 1992 at ages 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 10, 14 and 17 years.

Anthropometric measures were recorded at birth and follow-up. At age 17 years cross-sectional assessment involved a blood sample, detailed questionnaires, anthropometric and cardiovascular examination and liver ultrasound to assess NAFLD.

The prevalence of NAFLD was 15.2%, being more prevalent in females than males (19.6 vs 10.8%, P

None of the anthropometric measurements at birth were associated with NAFLD at age 17 years. At age 3-10 years, greater pre-existing adiposity, particularly BMI Z score, suprailiac skinfold thickness, and chest and mid-arm circumference were associated with NAFLD at age 17 years.

The genesis of risk of late adolescent NAFLD begins in the first few years of life, with differences in adiposity evident from 3 years of age.

Limitations: This study had limitations in anthropometric and NAFLD measures.  These included the single cross-sectional assessment for NAFLD and the use of ultrasound rather than histology, MRI or magnetic resonance spectroscopy to diagnose and quantify liver fat. Skinfold thickness was not measured at ages 8 and 14 years; waist circumference only was measured at 14 and 17 years.