Background: Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is considered the hepatic manifestation of metabolic syndrome. Accelerated catch-up in weight during infancy in subjects born at full term has been associated with increased risk for NAFLD in adulthood, but this association has not been studied in subjects born preterm. Methods: In 162 young adults born at a gestational age <36 weeks, we assessed the associations between fatty liver index (FLI, 0-100) and birth weight standard deviation score and first-year weight gain. We performed comparisons between subjects with and without accelerated catch-up in weight in the first year after term age. An FLI score was assigned to each participant to determine the clinical relevance, and regression analyses were performed. Results: Accelerated weight gain in the first 3 months after term age was associated with FLI as a continuous variable, whereas gestational age and low birth weight were not. Of the subjects with accelerated catch-up in weight-for-length after term age, 7.3% had a high FLI at the age of 21 years, whereas none of the subjects without accelerated catch-up in weight had a high FLI. Conclusion: Our study shows that accelerated weight gain after term age is associated with an increased risk of developing NAFLD in young adults born preterm.

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Hormone Research in Paediatrics
Department of Pediatrics

Breij, L, Kerkhof, G.F, & Hokken-Koelega, A.C.S. (2015). Risk for nonalcoholic fatty liver disease in young adults born preterm. Hormone Research in Paediatrics, 84(3), 199–205. doi:10.1159/000437054