Overweight kids with fatty liver more likely to have metabolic syndrome

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted July 21, 2008

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Children who carry extra poundage and develop nonalcoholic fatty liver disease are more likely to have markers of the metabolic syndrome than those who are heavy and do not have this condition, says a study published online last month in Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Assn.

Researchers compared 150 overweight children with biopsy-confirmed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease to 150 without. Those with liver problems had higher blood glucose, insulin, blood pressure and cholesterol. Asian and Hispanic children who were overweight were more at risk for NAFLD than those who were African-American or Caucasian.

The authors suggest that NAFLD may identify those children more in need of intervention to improve their cardiovascular risk profile.

"Fat accumulation in the liver may play a more important role than obesity itself in determining the risk for 'weight-related' metabolic co-morbidities. Thus, in children and adolescents, NAFLD may serve as a marker to stratify the cardiovascular risk of overweight and obese patients," said Jeffrey Schwimmer, MD, lead author and associate professor of pediatrics at the University of California, San Diego.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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