The global NAFLD epidemic

Nat Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2013 Nov;10(11):686-90. doi: 10.1038/nrgastro.2013.171. Epub 2013 Sep 17.


NAFLD is a clinical syndrome characterized by predominant macrovesicular steatosis of the liver. The clinical and histological phenotypes of NAFLD extend from a nonalcoholic fatty liver to NASH. Although the prevalence of NAFLD is increasing globally, and it is set to become the predominant cause of chronic liver disease in many parts of the world, the epidemiology and demographic characteristics of NAFLD vary worldwide. Indeed, the condition is associated with obesity and insulin resistance in most cases in the Western world, but the disease manifests at a lower BMI in Asian countries and many patients do not seem to have insulin resistance as determined using conventional methods. The similarities and differences in the epidemiology of NAFLD in different regions of the world are discussed and the potential role of genetics and insulin resistance in disease progression is also presented.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Epidemics*
  • Fatty Liver / epidemiology*
  • Fatty Liver / genetics
  • Fatty Liver / physiopathology
  • Global Health / trends*
  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance / physiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
  • Prevalence