"Foie Gras" in Kids Risk Factor for Heart Disease

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), is now the most common cause of liver disease in children.

Although this condition is associated with insulin resistance its impact on other features of the “metabolic syndrome” is less clear.

In the July 15 issue of Circulation, Jeffrey Schwimmer and colleagues from the University of California, San Diego report on their findings from a case-control study of 150 overweight children with biopsy-proven NAFLD and 150 overweight children without NAFLD.

Children with NAFLD had significantly higher fasting glucose, insulin, total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, triglycerides, systolic blood pressure, and diastolic blood pressure than overweight and obese children without NAFLD.

Not only do these findings support the notion that, as in adults, NAFLD in overweight and obese children is strongly associated with multiple cardiovascular risk factors, they also show that as in adults, weight alone is not a reliable measure of cardiovascular or metabolic risk factors in kids.

Identification of NAFLD in a child should prompt global counseling to address nutrition, physical activity, and avoidance of smoking to prevent the development of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes.

Edmonton, Alberta