Researchers from The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia have found a possible link between metabolic syndrome and liver disease in obese teenaged boys.
In the study, researchers have found strong association between metabolic syndrome and elevated levels of the liver enzyme alanine aminotransferase (ALT), a marker of NAFLD.
However, study leader Dr Rose C. Graham, a pediatric gastroenterologist at The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia said the link did not appear in adolescent girls.
Further study showed that among Hispanic males, this association largely coincided with being obese, as measured by body mass index.
The researchers expected to find this correlation, because for all ethnicities, obesity was already known to be a risk factor for both metabolic syndrome and NAFLD.
The finding may have implications for treatment, said Graham. Currently, the only known treatment for NAFLD is weight loss.
"If some adolescents with metabolic syndrome may be susceptible to this liver disease regardless of whether or not they are obese, there may be other treatments yet to be discovered," she added.
The study appears in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition.