TUESDAY, June 21, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) have a high risk for existing and incident type 2 diabetes (T2D), with a prevalence of 16.8 percent, according to a study published online June 13 in Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology.

Kimberly P. Newton, M.D., from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine in La Jolla, and colleagues examined the incidence of T2D in children with NAFLD in a longitudinal follow-up of 892 children enrolled in the Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network. Participants were followed for 3.8 years, with a total of 3,234 person-years at risk.

The researchers found that the incidence rate was 3,000 new cases of T2D per 100,000 person-years at risk. Sixty-three children had T2D at baseline, and an additional 97 children developed T2D during follow-up, resulting in a period prevalence of 16.8 percent. Incident T2D was significantly higher for girls versus boys (hazard ratio, 1.8), in association with body mass index z-score (hazard ratio, 1.8), and with more severe liver histology, including steatosis grade and fibrosis stage (hazard ratios, 1.3 and 1.3, respectively).

“There is a growing public health crisis as children with diabetes mature into adults with diabetes,” a coauthor said in a statement. “We need to better understand how NAFLD contributes to type 2 diabetes risk in children so that we can actively work to prevent it.”

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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