Journal of Gastroenterology

, Volume 45, Issue 6, pp 666–672 | Cite as

Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in Japanese junior high school students: its prevalence and relationship to lifestyle habits

  • Goro Tsuruta
  • Naoki Tanaka
  • Minoru Hongo
  • Michiharu Komatsu
  • Akira Horiuchi
  • Kaeko Hamamoto
  • Chieko Iguchi
  • Yoshiko Nakayama
  • Takeji Umemura
  • Tetsuya Ichijo
  • Akihiro Matsumoto
  • Kaname Yoshizawa
  • Toshifumi Aoyama
  • Eiji Tanaka
Original Article—Liver, Pancreas, and Biliary Tract

Abstract

Background

Despite the increase in nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in Japanese adults, its prevalence in adolescents remains unclear. This prompted us to evaluate the incidence and clinical characteristics of NAFLD among junior high school students.

Methods

A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted among students in a single junior high school in Nagano prefecture. Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and γ-glutamyltransferase (γGT) measurements and abdominal ultrasonography were performed in 249 and 288 students in 2004 and 2007, respectively. In the latter survey, student lifestyle habits were also assessed, using questionnaires.

Results

The prevalence of NAFLD was 4.4% and 4.5% in 2004 and 2007, respectively, which was lower than that of obesity (10.0% and 5.9%). Body mass index and ALT and γGT levels increased significantly with hepatic steatosis severity. Multivariate logistic regression analysis demonstrated that the presence of obesity and an ALT level of 30 U/L or more were independent predictors of NAFLD (odds ratio 16.9, P < 0.001 and odds ratio 16.6, P = 0.001, respectively). The ratios of students commuting to and from school by car and not doing sports outside of school were higher in NAFLD students compared with non-NAFLD ones. Such tendencies were observed independently of the presence of obesity. Additionally, one obese student with severe steatosis and liver dysfunction was diagnosed as having nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH).

Conclusions

Approximately 4% of junior high school students had NAFLD that was primarily associated with obesity and reduced daily physical activity. Serum ALT measurement during school check-ups is recommended for the early detection of young adolescent NAFLD/NASH.

Keywords

Obesity ALT Physical activity Skipping breakfast Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis 

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Copyright information

© Springer 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Goro Tsuruta
    • 1
  • Naoki Tanaka
    • 2
    • 3
  • Minoru Hongo
    • 4
  • Michiharu Komatsu
    • 3
  • Akira Horiuchi
    • 5
  • Kaeko Hamamoto
    • 6
  • Chieko Iguchi
    • 6
  • Yoshiko Nakayama
    • 1
    • 5
  • Takeji Umemura
    • 3
  • Tetsuya Ichijo
    • 3
  • Akihiro Matsumoto
    • 3
  • Kaname Yoshizawa
    • 3
  • Toshifumi Aoyama
    • 2
  • Eiji Tanaka
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of PediatricsShinshu University School of MedicineMatsumotoJapan
  2. 2.Department of Metabolic RegulationShinshu University Graduate School of MedicineMatsumotoJapan
  3. 3.Department of GastroenterologyShinshu University School of MedicineMatsumotoJapan
  4. 4.Shinshu University School of Health ScienceMatsumotoJapan
  5. 5.Department of GastroenterologyShowa Inan General HospitalKomaganeJapan
  6. 6.Department of Laboratory MedicineShowa Inan General HospitalKomaganeJapan

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