Effect of weight change and lifestyle modifications on the development or remission of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease: sex-specific analysis

Sci Rep. 2020 Jan 16;10(1):481. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-57369-9.


The effects of changes in various lifestyle habits on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have not been well elucidated. We aimed to clarify how weight change and lifestyle modifications were associated with the development or remission of NAFLD. In this longitudinal cohort study, we reviewed the periodic health checkup data of 1,421 subjects with no causes of liver disease besides NAFLD who had received at least two health checkups between 2009 and 2018. The prevalence of NAFLD at baseline was 34.1% (484/1,421). During follow-up period (4.6 ± 2.8 years), 104 subjects developed NAFLD and 127 subjects demonstrated NAFLD remission. The frequency of NAFLD development or that of NAFLD remission significantly increased as the larger weight gain or weight loss was, respectively (both, p < 0.001). Approximately 40% of the subjects who maintained ≥ 1%/year weight loss achieved NAFLD remission. By multivariate analysis, quitting smoking were independently associated with NAFLD development (adjusted odds ratio [AOR], 2.86; 95% CI, 1.24-6.62). Subjects who quit smoking demonstrated large weight gain (≥1%/year) significantly more frequently than the other subjects (p < 0.001). In sex-specific analysis, starting to exercise was independently associated with NAFLD remission in men (AOR, 2.38; 95% CI, 1.25-4.53).

MeSH terms

  • Behavior Therapy*
  • Body Mass Index*
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / etiology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / pathology
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease / therapy*
  • Remission Induction
  • Risk Reduction Behavior
  • Weight Gain*
  • Weight Loss*