Epidemiology of NAFLD and Type 2 Diabetes: Health Disparities Among Persons of Hispanic Origin
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Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common chronic liver condition in the USA and worldwide and affects Hispanics disproportionally. In this review, we aim to document and contrast the epidemiology of NAFLD and type 2 diabetes, provide a framework to study health disparities in NAFLD in Hispanic populations, and identify points of action within the health care system to tackle these health disparities. NAFLD shares many common risk factors with type 2 diabetes, specially obesity and insulin resistance, but shows different prevalence patterns by ethnicity: while Hispanics are disproportionately affected by both NAFLD and type 2 diabetes, non-Hispanic black populations have a low prevalence of NAFLD. The current literature suggests a strong role of polymorphisms in the PNPLA3 gene and potential interactions with environmental factors in the pathogenesis of NAFLD. However, given potential interactions and the shared risk factors with type 2 diabetes, a health disparity approach that acknowledges upstream determinants is needed. Solutions to these determinants can also be found in the health system. The role of interventions that have shown efficacy in type 2 diabetes, like community health workers, may be implemented to prevent and control NAFLD.
KeywordsNon-alcoholic fatty liver disease Type 2 diabetes Epidemiology Hispanics PNPLA3 Health disparities
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Conflict of Interest
Mariana Lazo, Usama Bilal, and Rafael Perez-Escamilla declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
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