Obesity is a global epidemic contributing to an increasing prevalence of obesity-related systemic disorders, including nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. The rising prevalence of nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) will in the near future lead to end-stage liver disease in a large cohort of patients with NASH-related cirrhosis and NASH is predicted to be a leading indication for liver transplantation in the coming decade. However, the prevalence of obesity and the progression of hepatic histological damage associated with NASH exhibit significant ethnic disparities. Despite a significantly lower body mass index and lower rates of obesity compared to other ethnic groups, Asians continue to demonstrate a significant prevalence of hypertension, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and NASH. Ethnic disparities in central adiposity and visceral fat distribution have been hypothesized to contribute to these ethnic disparities. The current review focuses on the epidemiology of obesity and NASH among Asian populations.
Keywords: Asians; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Metabolic syndrome; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis; Obesity.