Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Italian Children with Down Syndrome: Prevalence and Correlation with Obesity-Related Features

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Abstract

Objective

To assess the prevalence of overweight/obesity in a cohort of Italian children with Down syndrome (DS) and to investigate the correlation of both obesity and DS with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).

Study design

We enrolled 280 children with DS (age range 5–18 years), who were referred to the DS outpatient clinic of the Bambino Gesù Children's Hospital in Rome. For all children, we collected the clinical history and measured anthropometric variables. Eighty-four of 280 children with DS were selected to undergo liver ultrasound scanning to evaluate the presence of NAFLD.

Results

Italian children with DS exhibited a prevalence of 19.64% for overweight and 12.14% for obesity. The prevalence of NAFLD in nonobese (45%) and overweight/obese (82%) children with DS is greater than in the European pediatric nonobese (5.7%) or obese population (33%). Moreover, the severity of liver brightness on ultrasound scan correlated positively with body mass index, triglycerides, low-density lipoprotein-cholesterol, and leptin levels and negatively with adiponectin.

Conclusions

We demonstrated that, independently from the obese phenotype, children with DS display a greater risk to develop NAFLD than the general pediatric population.

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