HealthDay News — For patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and underlying metabolic disorders, physical activity is associated with a reduction in intrahepatic lipid content and markers of hepatocellular injury, according to a meta-analysis published in the October issue of Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Lorenzo A. Orci, MD, PhD, from the University of Geneva, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis to examine the effectiveness of exercise-based lifestyle interventions on liver-specific end points in patients with NAFLD and underlying metabolic disorders. Data were included from 28 trials.

The researchers found that independent of diet change, physical activity correlated with a significant reduction in intrahepatic lipid content (standardized mean difference, −0.69) and with reductions in alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase (weighted mean difference, −3.3 and −4.85 IU/L, respectively). Individuals with increasing body mass index were increasingly more likely to benefit from the intervention (P = 0.037). No effect modification was seen by variables related to the intervention intensity.

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“In a meta-analysis of randomized trials, we found strong evidence that physical activity reduces intrahepatic lipid content and markers of hepatocellular injury in patients with NAFLD,” the authors write. “This effect correlated with baseline body mass index.”


  1. Orci LA, Gariani K, Graziano O, et al. Exercise-based Interventions for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A Meta-analysis and Meta-regression. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. DOI: