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High or low birth weight may increase risk of liver disease

A study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine have investigated the relationship between low or high birth weight and development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.

Children with a high or low birth weight may be at an increased risk of developing non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), according to researchers. 


The study found that children with NAFLD were more likely to have a higher or lower birth
weight than the general population. Picture: iStock

A group at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine, along with clinical collaborators across the United States, obtained information for 538 children with NAFLD included in a national clinical research database. 

They categorised their birth weights as either low, medium or high, and compared them with the birth weight distribution in the general US population.

'Closer attention' 

The study found that children with NAFLD were more likely to have a low or high birth weight when compared with the general population. 

Among children with NAFLD, those with low or high birth weight appeared to be at increased risk of more severe disease, according to the researchers. 

Co-author Jeffrey Schwimmer said: 'Children who are born with low or high birth weight may merit closer attention to their metabolic health to help prevent obesity, liver disease and diabetes.'


Schwimmer at al (2017) Low and high birth weights are risk factors for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in children. The Journal of Pediatrics. doi.org/10.1016/j.jpeds.2017.03.007

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