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Rates of childhood liver disease skyrocket

Category: Liver Diseases

The number of teenagers who have received unhealthy liver panel test results has nearly tripled during the course of the last decade, according to the results of a new study presented at the Digestive Diseases Week conference.

Researchers from Emory University looked at survey data collected from young people between 1998 and 2008. The results showed that the percentage of youths with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease increased during this time from 3.6 percent to 9.9 percent.

The researchers said the rise in fatty liver disease among adolescents is largely due to the obesity epidemic. Over the last couple decades, the number of severely overweight children has increased dramatically. Carrying excess weight is a recognized risk factor for fatty liver disease.

"We know that if a child is overweight, they are more likely to be overweight as an adult," said lead researcher Miriam Vos. "We know from national data that teens with fatty liver disease become adults with fatty liver disease, unless they improve their diet and lose a significant amount of weight."

Fortunately, children do tend to have an easier time losing weight than adults, Vos pointed out.ADNFCR-2248-ID-800779765-ADNFCR

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