Background & aims: The goal of this study was to examine the association of sitting time and physical activity level with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in Korean men and women and to explore whether any observed associations were mediated by adiposity.
Methods: A cross-sectional study was performed on 139,056 Koreans, who underwent a health examination between March 2011 and December 2013. Physical activity level and sitting time were assessed using the validated Korean version of the international Physical Activity Questionnaire Short Form. The presence of fatty liver was determined using ultrasonographic findings. Poisson regression models with robust variance were used to evaluate the association of sitting time and physical activity level with NAFLD.
Results: Of the 139,056 subjects, 39,257 had NAFLD. In a multivariable-adjusted model, both prolonged sitting time and decreased physical activity level were independently associated with increasing prevalence of NAFLD. The prevalence ratios (95% CIs) for NAFLD comparing 5-9 and ⩾10 h/day sitting time to <5h/day were 1.04 (1.02-1.07) and 1.09 (1.06-1.11), respectively (p for trend <0.001). These associations were still observed in subjects with BMI <23 kg/m(2). The prevalence ratios (95% CIs) for NAFLD comparing minimally active and health-enhancing physically active groups to the inactive group were 0.94 (0.92-0.95) and 0.80 (0.78-0.82), respectively (p for trend <0.001).
Conclusions: Prolonged sitting time and decreased physical activity level were positively associated with the prevalence of NAFLD in a large sample of middle-aged Koreans, supporting the importance of reducing time spent sitting in addition to promoting physical activity.
Keywords: NAFLD; Obesity; Physical activity; Sitting time.
Copyright © 2015 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.