Liver disease among children in Hawai'i diagnosed with metabolic syndrome

Hawaii J Med Public Health. 2013 May;72(5):167-71.


The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of and factors related to liver disease among children in Hawai'i with metabolic syndrome. The medical charts of children diagnosed with metabolic syndrome by an outpatient endocrinologist between January 2000 and December 2010 were reviewed. Liver disease prevalence was estimated based on serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, which were then assessed for associations with demographic (age, gender, ethnicity), anthropometric (body mass index), biochemical (fasting blood glucose, hemoglobin A1c, triglycerides, and total, LDL- and HDL-cholesterol), and clinical (blood pressure) characteristics of subjects. Serum ALT was available for 167 of the 195 subjects. The proportion of subjects with liver disease (105/167 [63%]) was greater than many traditional features of metabolic syndrome including hypertriglyceridemia (73/177 [41%]), hypertension (37/194 [19%]) and hyperglycemia (37/170 [22%]). Serum ALT values were positively associated with age (P=.030), and liver disease was more common among boys than girls (62/91 [68%] vs 43/76 [57%]), although this difference was not statistically significant (P=.123). There was a significant difference in liver disease across ethnicities (P=.029), and appeared to be more common in children with Pacific Islander surnames (14/16 [88%]), and less common in children with Hispanic surnames (7/20 [35%]). Diastolic blood pressure was the only obesity-related disease parameter associated with serum ALT after adjusting for age and gender (P=.018). In conclusion, liver disease was common among children diagnosed with metabolic syndrome in Hawai'i. Age, gender, and ethnicity may be important determinants of liver disease risk, and should be investigated further.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hawaii / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant
  • Liver Diseases / diagnosis
  • Liver Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Liver Diseases / etiology
  • Male
  • Metabolic Syndrome / complications*
  • Metabolic Syndrome / epidemiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult