Is there any link between dietary pattern and development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence? An expert review

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Evaluation of: Oddy WH, Herbison CE, Jacoby P et al. The western dietary pattern is prospectively associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence. Am. J. Gastroenterol. 108, 778–785 (2013).

The prevalence of overweight and obesity in childhood is a major public health concern. According to the obesity trend, the prevalence of pediatric nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is also increasing. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is characterized by a spectrum of hepatic lesions (i.e., steatosis, ballooning, necroinflammation and fibrosis) that can progress to cirrhosis, hepatocellular carcinoma and liver failure with the consequent need for liver transplantation. Pediatric NAFLD is typically of primary origin and it is strongly associated with several features of the metabolic syndrome such as obesity, insulin resistance, dyslipidemia and Type 2 diabetes. The evaluated article reports the prospective relationship between dietary patterns at age 14 years and the presence of NAFLD at age 17 years. A total of 995 adolescents completed a food frequency questionnaire at 14 years and had liver ultrasound at 17 years. Prospective associations between the dietary pattern scores and the risk of NAFLD were analyzed using multiple logistic regression analyses. Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease was present in 15.2% of adolescents. A healthy dietary pattern at 14 years appeared protective against NAFLD at 17 years in centrally obese adolescents. On the contrary, a western dietary pattern at 14 years in this cohort was associated with an increased risk of NAFLD at 17 years, particularly in obese adolescents.

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