Researchers do not know the exact cause of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. They do know that you’re more likely to develop NAFLD – either simple fatty liver or NASH – if you:
Much like adults, children who have certain health conditions like obesity and conditions related to obesity – type 2 diabetes/pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, and abnormal levels of cholesterol – are at risk for developing NAFLD and NASH. Experts don’t know why some children with NAFLD have simple fatty liver while others have NASH. Research suggests that NASH is more common in children who have both NAFLD and type 2 diabetes. In addition, certain genes may also increase a child’s chance of developing NASH.
NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children in the United States. Researchers estimate that close to 10 percent of U.S. children ages 2 to 19 – about six million children – have NAFLD. It’s become more common in children in recent decades, in part due to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity.
NAFLD is more common in boys than in girls; however, among children with NAFLD, boys and girls are equally likely to have NASH.
The majority of children with NAFLD have simple fatty liver. Children with simple fatty liver typically don’t develop liver complications. However, compared with adults who develop NAFLD, children with NAFLD are more likely to have NASH and related complications or liver disease as adults.
The good news is that fatty liver disease can be controlled or reversed with smart changes to your child’s lifestyle. It’s important to be aware of the risk factors associated with fatty liver disease and take steps to lessen your child’s chance of getting it, or keep it from progressing if your child has been diagnosed with the disease.
Last updated on October 25th, 2022 at 09:39 am