HealthDay News — In adolescents, earlier life trajectories of adiposity are associated with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, results of a study published in the Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology indicate.

“Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and its metabolic risk factors are recognized during childhood and adolescence,” wrote Oyekoya T. Ayonrinde, MBBS, of the University of Western Australia in Perth, and colleagues.

“Identification of adolescents at risk of NAFLD from childhood anthropometry may expose opportunities to influence the hepatic and metabolic destinies of individuals.”

To examine correlations between NAFLD diagnosed during adolescence and earlier life trajectories of anthropometry, the investigators used questionnaires and liver ultrasounds in 1,170 adolescents aged 17 years.

Of the participants, 15.2% were diagnosed with NAFLD. There was no association for birth anthropometry, including birth weight, skinfold thickness, and ponderal index, with NAFLD. Adiposity differences between participants aged 17 years with and without NAFLD were evident at age 3 years.

There were correlations for greater adiposity trajectories for weight, body mass index, skinfold thickness, mid-arm circumference, and chest circumference from participants aged 3 years and older with NAFLD diagnosis and severity of hepatic steatosis at age 17 years, particularly in males (P<0.05). For each adiposity measure, the strength of associations increased with age after 3 years (all P<0.001).

“Trajectories of childhood adiposity are associated with NAFLD,” concluded the researchers. “Exploration of clinically relevant risk factors and preventative measures for NAFLD should begin during childhood.”


  1. Ayonrinde OT et al. Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2015; doi: 10.1111/jgh.12666