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Ann Nutr Metab. 2008;53(2):109-16. doi: 10.1159/000165360. Epub 2008 Oct 23.

Serum leptin as a predictor of fatty liver in 7-year-old Korean children.

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Division of Metabolic Diseases, Center for Biomedical Sciences, National Institute of Health, Seoul, Korea.



This study investigated the usefulness of serum leptin as a predictor of fatty liver disease in Korean children.


One hundred and twenty-four children were recruited from urban areas in Korea. Anthropometrical parameters and clinical variables, such as the levels of serum lipids, insulin and leptin, were measured. Fatty liver disease was detected via hepatic sonogram. We also collected dietary intake data using a 24-hour dietary recall for 3 days. Overweight children were identified using the standards established by the International Obesity Task Force.


The prevalence of fatty liver disease was 12.1% among all children and was significantly higher in overweight than in normal children (22.5 vs. 7.1%, respectively; p < 0.05). Within normal weight children, children with fatty livers showed a 2-fold increase in serum leptin levels compared with children with healthy livers (6.2 vs. 2.9 ng/ml, respectively; p < 0.05). Within overweight children, elevated serum leptin levels were observed in children with fatty livers. Multiple logistic regression analysis revealed that serum leptin was strongly associated with fatty liver disease, independent of the body mass index. Energy and fat intake, the frequency of fruit and vegetable consumption, and the frequency of physical activity did not differ among children with or without fatty livers.


Elevated serum leptin may be a useful parameter when screening for early fatty liver disease among children.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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