Demographic and developmental factors associated with hepatic fat accumulation and risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) among healthy Hispanic and Non-Hispanic children Open Access

Murayama, Yuichi (Spring 2021)

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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), commonly defined as chronic liver condition, is a common liver disease in the US, especially prominent in the Hispanic population. Prevalence of NAFLD has increased markedly in recent years, among children as well as adults. This study aims to identify factors associated with the accumulation of hepatic fat among healthy Hispanic vs. non-Hispanic children. We conducted a cross-sectional study utilizing data collected from the ongoing Project Exposome Analysis in Child Health (PEACH) cohort study conducted by the Department of Pediatrics Emory University School of Medicine. We created a series of linear regression models to explore the relationship between liver fat accumulation (%), as assessed using MRI, and age, as well as the interaction between age and ethnicity. We also developed multivariable models to explore the association between possible demographic risk factors and the role of puberty onset and % liver fat using risk-factor models in order to assess the impact of adjustment for potential confounding factors identified from previous research. Among the 30 children in the study, 10 were Hispanic and 20 were Not Hispanic, the mean age (±Standard Deviation) of those of Hispanic ethnicity was 13.3 ±3.2 years (range, 7.5 to 18.1), and of those Not Hispanic was13.5±2.8 years (range, 7.8 to 18.1), (p=0.872). The mean % liver fat (±SD) of Hispanic children was 4.2±1.8 (range, 1.6 to 7.0), and among Not Hispanic it was 3.5±2.1 (range, 1.6 to 10.1), (p=0.365). There was no significant difference for this interaction term age and ethnicity (p=0.108), but the Hispanic group exhibited a steeper slope compared to the Not-Hispanic group. On the other hand, stepwise results showed “Age,” “Ethnicity,” and “Obesity” as statistically significant predictors. Our results demonstrated that percent hepatic fat increased with age among all participants in our sample of healthy children but the rate of increase was greater among those of Hispanic ethnicity compared to non-Hispanic ethnicity. The results of this study can be used to inform the development of improved screening and intervention methods.

Table of Contents

1: Background

1-3: Methods

3-4: Results

4-5: Discussions

5: Conclusion

5-7: References

8-13: Tables and Figures

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