Among children with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), those with high birth weight had significantly greater odds of having more severe steatosis and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) than those with normal birth weight, reported Kimberly P. Newton, MD, of the University of California, San Diego, and her associates.

In contrast, the children with low birth weight had twice the risk of advanced fibrosis, compared with those with normal birth weight.

This study used the database of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases NASH Clinical Research Network. Birth weights were categorized as low birth weight (LBW) at 1,500 g-2,499 g, normal birth weight (NBW) at 2,500 g-3,999 g, or high birth weight (HBW) at 4,000 g or greater.

Of 538 children with a mean age of 13 years, 9% had LBW, 76% had NBW, and 15% had HBW. Definite NASH was present in 27%.

Of the HBW children, 51% had severe steatosis, and those with HBW had significant 1.82-times greater odds of having severe steatosis than those with NBW. There was no significant difference in severe steatosis between children with LBW and NBW.

The odds of having NASH were two-times higher in the HBW children, compared with NBW children. The prevalence of NASH did not differ between the LBW and NBW children. The children with LBW had 2.23-times greater odds of advanced fibrosis, compared with the NBW children. There was no significant difference in advanced fibrosis between the HBW and NBW children.

“The frequency of children born with HBW has greatly increased recently, in parallel with the epidemic of obesity, and, thus, implications of HBW for future health have not been fully characterized,” Dr. Newton and her colleagues. The results of this study suggest there may be long-lasting hepatic consequences.

Read more in the Journal of Pediatrics (2017 Mar 30. doi: 10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.007 ).


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