Weight trajectories through infancy and childhood and risk of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease in adolescence: the ALSPAC study

Emma L Anderson, Laura D Howe, Abigail Fraser, Mark P Callaway, Naveed Sattar, Chris Day, Kate Tilling, Debbie A Lawlor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

44 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND & AIMS: Adiposity is a key risk factor for NAFLD. Few studies have examined prospective associations of infant and childhood adiposity with subsequent NAFLD risk. We examined associations of weight-for-height trajectories from birth to age 10 with liver outcomes in adolescence, and assessed the extent to which associations are mediated through fat mass at the time of outcome assessment.

METHODS: Individual trajectories of weight and height were estimated for participants in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children using random-effects linear-spline models. Associations of birthweight (adjusted for birth length) and weight change (adjusted for length/height change) from 0-3 months, 3 months-1 y, 1-3 y, 3-7 y, and 7-10 y with ultrasound scan (USS) determined liver fat and stiffness, and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT), aspartate aminotransferase (AST), and gamma-glutamyl transferase (GGT) at mean age 17.8 y were assessed with linear and logistic regressions. Mediation by concurrent fat mass was assessed with adjustment for fat mass at mean age 17.8 y.

RESULTS: Birth weight was positively associated with liver stiffness and negatively with ALT and AST. Weight change from birth to 1 y was not associated with outcomes. Weight change from 1-3 y, 3-7 y, and 7-10 y was consistently positively associated with USS and blood-based liver outcomes. Adjusting for fat mass at mean age 17.8 y attenuated associations toward the null, suggesting associations are largely mediated by concurrent body fatness.

CONCLUSIONS: Greater rates of weight-for-height change between 1 y and 10 y are consistently associated with adverse liver outcomes in adolescence. These associations are largely mediated through concurrent fatness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)626-32
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


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