Television viewing and fatty liver in early midlife. The Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns Study

Ann Med. 2015;47(6):519-26. doi: 10.3109/07853890.2015.1077989. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


Introduction: Both sedentary behaviour and fatty liver are associated with increased risk of obesity and non-communicable diseases, but their relationship remains unknown. We investigated the relationship of television (TV) viewing time with serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and Fatty Liver Index (FLI), and ultrasonographically assessed liver fat.

Methods: A total of 1,367 adults of the population-based Cardiovascular Risk in Young Finns study (748 women, 619 men, aged 34-49 years) had fasting serum GGT, triglycerides, weight, height, and waist circumference, and self-reported TV time data from 2001, 2007, and 2011. Changes in GGT and FLI, and liver ultrasound images in 2011 were studied in groups with constantly low (≤ 1 h/d), moderate (1-3 h/d), or high (≥ 3 h/d) daily TV time, and in groups with ≥ 1 hour increase/decrease in daily TV time between 2001 and 2011.

Results: Constantly high TV time was associated with higher GGT and FLI (P < 0.02 in both), and 2.3-fold (95% CI 1.2-4.5) increased risk of fatty liver regardless of age, sex, leisure-time and occupational physical activity, energy intake, diet composition, alcohol use, sleep duration, socioeconomic status, and smoking. Adjustment for BMI partly attenuated the associations.

Conclusions: High TV viewing increases fatty liver risk. It may be one mechanism linking sedentary behaviour with increased cardiometabolic disease risks.

Keywords: Echography; Fatty Liver Index; NAFLD; elevated liver enzymes; fatty liver; liver; non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; sedentary lifestyle; television; ultrasound.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Body Mass Index
  • Body Weight
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / blood
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Female
  • Finland / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / blood
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / epidemiology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Sedentary Behavior
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Triglycerides / blood
  • Ultrasonography
  • Waist Circumference
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase / blood


  • Triglycerides
  • gamma-Glutamyltransferase