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J Korean Med Sci. 2018 Apr 16;33(16):e122. doi: 10.3346/jkms.2018.33.e122.

Biochemical Predictors of Early Onset Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Young Children with Obesity.

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Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University Bundang Hospital, Seongnam, Korea.
Department of Pediatrics, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.



The prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and their associated risk factors are not well-established in young children with obesity. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the prevalence of early onset NAFLD and identify its biochemical predictors in obese children aged less than 10 years.


Anthropometric measurements, blood pressure, laboratory tests, and abdominal ultrasonography (USG) were performed in all subjects. National Cholesterol Education Program-Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP-ATP III) criteria for MS diagnosis and liver enzymes and USG for NAFLD diagnosis were assessed.


A total of 356 children with obesity (233 boys, 123 girls) were included, with 172 children age ≤ 10 years and 184 adolescents. The prevalence of MS was 23.3% in young children and 35.3% in adolescents (P = 0.020); while the prevalence of NAFLD was 36.0% and 70.7%, respectively (P = 0.001). In obese children aged 10 years or less, there were significant differences in levels of serum γ-glutamyltranspeptidase (γGT) (P < 0.001), triglycerides (P = 0.042), and homeostatic model assessment of insulin resistance (P < 0.001) between the non-NAFLD and the NAFLD group. Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed significant increase in serum γGT and uric acid levels in young children.


Although MS and NAFLD were more prevalent in adolescents, young children also demonstrated MS and NAFLD as obesity-related complications. Elevated serum γGT and uric acid levels may serve as biochemical predictors in detecting NAFLD in young children with obesity before investigation with abdominal USG.


Child; Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease; Obesity; Uric Acid; γ-glutamyltranspeptidase

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