The role of lifestyle change in the prevention and treatment of NAFLD

Curr Pharm Des. 2013;19(29):5270-9.


Healthy habits in terms of food intake and physical activity are first-line approach to prevention and treatment of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, but difficulties arise in turning attempts into practice. Independently of the specific role of individual nutrients, not universally proven, overweight, obesity and diabetes are the specific conditions most frequently associated with hepatic fat accumulation. Accordingly, weight loss is mandatory in the majority of patients; this can be achieved by dietary restriction, but is rarely maintained in the long-term. Physical activity programs, both aerobic and resistance exercise may improve cardiorespiratory fitness, reduce the multiple conditions associated with the metabolic syndrome and help weight loss maintenance. However, motivating sedentary individuals to move is difficult and is favored by structured programs carried out along the lines of cognitive-behavior therapy. The role of behavior therapy is now supported by pilot studies, observational studies and finally by a randomized controlled study with histological outcomes. In the future, behavior interventions might be supported by important technological advances, such as smart phone technology and webbased platforms to facilitate interactive engagement amongst patients and with their health care providers. Lifestyle programs must also incorporate methods of overcoming barriers to accessing health service, engaging with workplace health programs and linking with community attempts to improve public health.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy
  • Diet
  • Exercise
  • Fatty Liver / prevention & control*
  • Fatty Liver / therapy
  • Health Promotion
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease