Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the build-up of excess fat in liver cells that is not caused by alcohol. NAFLD is one of the major chronic diseases in the world. Several studies suggest that NAFLD is associated with insulin resistance, which increases the risk of prediabetes and type-2 diabetes. This study aims to investigate the associations between NAFLD and the prevalence of prediabetes and type-2 diabetes in children.
This is a multicenter, cross-sectional study conducted across 12 pediatric clinics in the United States. The research included a total of 675 children with NAFLD, with the mean age of 12.6 years. The primary outcome of the study was the prevalence of type-2 diabetes and prediabetes.
The estimated prevalence of type-2 diabetes was 6.5%, and prediabetes was 23.4%. The prevalence of prediabetes and type-2 diabetes in girls was higher by 1.5 times and 5 times, respectively than boys. The prevalence of Non-Alcoholic SteatoHepatitis (NASH), the most severe form of NAFLD, was higher in those with type-2 diabetes ( 43.2%) and prediabetes (34.2%).
The research concluded that nearly 30% of children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease had type-2 diabetes or prediabetes. These children were also at a greater risk of having NASH.