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Anthropometric measurements during childhood predict nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescents

Ayonrinde, O.T., Olynyk, J.K., Beilin, L.J., Mori, T.A., Oddy, W.H. and Adams, L.A. (2011) Anthropometric measurements during childhood predict nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescents. In: Australian Gastroenterology Week 2011, 12 - 15 September 2011, Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is frequently not suspected or diagnosed during childhood and adolescence, however, identification of children at increased risk of future NAFLD, may guide interventions to prevent adolescent and adult NAFLD and associated metabolic disorders. Methods We sought a relationship between childhood anthropometry and subsequent NAFLD in 1170 adolescents, serially well characterized from birth to age 17 years, within the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine Cohort) Study. NAFLD was diagnosed using liver ultrasound at age 17 years. Results 150/1170 adolescents (12.8%) were diagnosed with NAFLD. Birth weight was not associated with NAFLD. There was a significant mean (sd) body weight difference of 2.7% at age 3 years (15.3 (1.7) kg vs. 14.9 (1.8) kg), progressing to 24.7% (81.4 (20.5) kg vs. 65.3 (11.5) kg) at age 17 years between the NAFLD and non-NAFLD group (p < 0.05 at all ages). Head circumference (HC) was smaller from age 1 year to 5 years. Skinfold thickness was greater from age 2 years, BMI and arm circumference from age 3 years, chest circumference from age 5 years and systolic blood pressure from age 10 years onwards (p < 0.05 for all) in adolescents subsequently diagnosed with NAFLD. Apart from HC, these differences increased through age 17 years. Suprailiac SFT at age 3 years (OR 1.18, 95% CI 1.05–1.33, p = 0.006), chest circumference at age 5 years (OR 1.15, 95% CI 1.08–1.24, p < 0.001) and HC at age 1 year (OR 0.65, 95% CI 0.53–0.80, p < 0.001) were independent predictors of adolescent NAFLD after controlling for weight and BMI up to age 5 years. Conclusions Changes in growth and adiposity from as early as one year of age are associated with the future development of NAFLD in 17 year olds. Anthropometric measurements during early childhood may identify individuals predestined to develop NAFLD and allow early targeted intervention.

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