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.