JOURNAL ARTICLE

Metabolic Health Is More Important than Obesity in the Development of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: A 4-Year Retrospective Study

Min Kyung Lee, Eun Jung Rhee, Min Chul Kim, Byung Sub Moon, Jeong In Lee, Young Seok Song, Eun Na Han, Hyo Sun Lee, Yoonjeong Son, Se Eun Park, Cheol Young Park, Ki Won Oh, Sung Woo Park, Won Young Lee
Endocrinology and Metabolism 2015, 30 (4): 522-30
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BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to compare the risk for future development of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) according to different status of metabolic health and obesity.

METHODS: A total of 3,045 subjects without NAFLD and diabetes at baseline were followed for 4 years. Subjects were categorized into four groups according to the following baseline metabolic health and obesity statuses: metabolically healthy, non-obese (MHNO); metabolically healthy, obese (MHO); metabolically unhealthy, non-obese (MUHNO); and metabolically unhealthy, obese (MUHO). Being metabolically healthy was defined as having fewer than two of the following five components: high blood pressure, high fasting blood glucose, high triglyceride, low high density lipoprotein cholesterol, and being in the highest decile of the homeostasis model assessment-insulin resistance index. Obesity was defined as a body mass index >25 kg/m². The presence of NAFLD was assessed by ultrasonography.

RESULTS: The proportions of subjects included in the MHNO, MHO, MUHNO, and MUHO groups were 71.4%, 9.8%, 13.0%, and 5.8%, respectively. The proportions of subjects who developed NAFLD were 10.5%, 31.4%, 23.2%, and 42% in the MHNO, MHO, MUHNO, and MUHO groups, respectively. The risk for developing NAFLD was highest in subjects who were metabolically unhealthy both at baseline and after 4 years compared with subjects who were consistently metabolically healthy during the follow-up period (odds ratio, 2.862). Using the MHNO group as reference, the odds ratios for the MHO, MUHNO, and MUHO groups were 1.731, 1.877, and 2.501, respectively.

CONCLUSION: The risk for NAFLD was lower in MHO subjects than in MUNO subjects.

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