The potential role of fatty liver in paediatric metabolic syndrome: A distinct phenotype with high metabolic risk?

V. Nobili, G. Bedogni, R. Berni Canani, P. Brambilla, S. Cianfarani, A. Pietrobelli, C. Agostoni

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Background: The prevalence of obesity and its metabolic consequences has dramatically increased in the last two decades urging physicians to find a reliable definition for early detection, treatment and possibly prevention of metabolic syndrome (MS). MS could be diagnosed in adult patients in the presence of a large waist circumference and ≥2 of the following features: high serum triglycerides, low serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high blood pressure and high fasting glucose. The definition of MS in children is more problematic, and the potential role of its single components on metabolic risk remains largely undefined. Recent evidence strongly suggests not only a relationship between non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and MS in obese children, adolescents and adults, but also the key role exerted by liver fat deposition in the pathogenesis of MS. Conclusion: We propose that NAFLD should be routinely checked in obese subjects because early lifestyle changes may be effective in reducing the overall risk of MS.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPediatric obesity
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2012



  • Insulin resistance metabolic syndrome
  • Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease
  • Non-alcoholic steatohepatitis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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