Comprehensive screening for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) may help prompt clinical management of fatty liver disease. A family history, especially of diabetes, has been little studied as a predictor for NAFLD. We characterized the cross-sectional relationship between a family history of type 2 diabetes (FHT2D) and NAFLD probability in 1185 diabetes-free Apulian (Southern-Italy) subjects aged > 20 years with overweight or obesity not receiving any drug or supplementation. Clinical data and routine biochemistry were analysed. NAFLD probability was defined using the fatty liver index (FLI). A first-degree FHT2D was assessed by interviewing subjects and assigning a score of 0, 1, or 2 if none, only one, or both parents were affected by type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Our study population featured most females (70.9%, N = 840), and 48.4% (N = 574) of the sample had first-degree FHT2D. After dividing the sample by a FHT2D, we found a higher BMI, Waist Circumference (WC), and diastolic blood pressure shared by FHT2D subjects; they also showed altered key markers of glucose homeostasis, higher triglyceride levels, and worse liver function. FLI scores were significantly lower in subjects without a first-degree FHT2D. After running logistic regression models, a FHT2D was significantly associated with the NAFLD probability, even adjusting for major confounders and stratifying by age (under and over 40 years of age). A FHT2D led to an almost twofold higher probability of NAFLD, regardless of confounding factors (OR 2.17, 95% CI 1.63 to 2.89). A first-degree FHT2D acts as an independent determinant of NAFLD in excess weight phenotypes, regardless of the age group (younger or older than 40 years). A NAFLD risk assessment within multidimensional screening might be useful in excess weight subjects reporting FHT2D even in the absence of diabetes.
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