Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in children

Curr Opin Pediatr. 2002 Oct;14(5):593-600. doi: 10.1097/00008480-200210000-00006.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is common in obese children and is a growing problem, given the increase in prevalence of obesity. NAFLD is also associated with diabetes, insulin resistance, hypercholesterolemia, and hypertriglyceridemia. Although mostly benign, some children with NAFLD develop fibrosis and cirrhosis, which necessitates close monitoring. Chronically elevated plasma liver enzyme levels is the most frequent finding. Ultrasound (US) examination allows confirmation of the diagnosis and it is useful for the follow-up. Gradual and sustained weight reduction is a management option that is worth trying initially. Other modalities of management, although interesting, await evidence as well as information on long-term benefits and effects. Sustained increase of transaminases despite weight reduction is a cause for concern and may require a liver biopsy both to assess severity of liver damage and for prognostic purposes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Fatty Liver / diagnosis*
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Fatty Liver / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male