Neck Circumference for NAFLD Assessment during a 2-Year Nutritional Intervention: The FLiO Study

Nutrients. 2022 Dec 4;14(23):5160. doi: 10.3390/nu14235160.


Neck circumference (NC) and its relationship to height (NHtR) and weight (NWtR) appear to be good candidates for the non-invasive management of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). This study aimed to evaluate the ability of routine variables to assess and manage NAFLD in 98 obese subjects with NAFLD included in a 2-year nutritional intervention program. Different measurements were performed at baseline, 6, 12 and 24 months. The nutritional intervention significantly improved the anthropometric, metabolic and imaging variables. NC was significantly associated with the steatosis degree at baseline (r = 0.29), 6 m (r = 0.22), 12 m (r = 0.25), and 24 m (r = 0.39) (all p < 0.05). NC was also significantly associated with visceral adipose tissue at all the study time-points (basal r = 0.78; 6 m r = 0.65; 12 m r = 0.71; 24 m r = 0.77; all p < 0.05). NC and neck ratios combined with ALT levels and HOMA-IR showed a good prediction ability for hepatic fat content and hepatic steatosis (at all time-points) in a ROC analysis. The model improved when weight loss was included in the panel (NC-ROC: 0.982 for steatosis degree). NC and ratios combined with ALT and HOMA-IR showed a good prediction ability for hepatic fat during the intervention. Thus, their application in clinical practice could improve the prevention and management of NAFLD.

Keywords: FLIO study; anthropometric measurements; fatty liver disease; imaging techniques; long-term follow-up; neck-to-height ratio; neck-to-weight ratio; non-invasive diagnostic methods; nutritional intervention; steatosis markers.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Insulin Resistance*
  • Intra-Abdominal Fat / metabolism
  • Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease* / metabolism
  • Obesity / complications
  • Weight Loss