- Low-birth weight and high-birth weight are both associated with the severity of liver disease.
- Children with low-birth weight were more likely to develop severe scarring of the liver.
- Children with high-birth weight were more likely to develop the hepatitis form of fatty liver disease.
From the beginning of a child's life, low birth weight and high birth weight identify children who have increased risk for health-related issues, one being non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
Birth weight involves both maternal and in utero factors, which may have long-lasting consequences for liver health.
Early research indicated a relationship between low-birth weight and cardiovascular disease and diabetes. However, until now, there had been a lack of insight into the link between high-birth weight and long-term health outcomes.
Non Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease
- NAFLD affects 30 million people in the U.S., almost 10 percent of whom are children.
- It begins with excess fat deposits in the liver.
- As the disease progresses, fibrosis increases, which may become cirrhosis, a permanent form of scarring.
- Cirrhosis can lead to liver failure and need for transplantation.
Birth Weight Has an Impact on Risk of Fatty Liver Disease in Children
Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine, with a cohort of clinical collaborators from across the United States, have demonstrated the impact of low and high birth weights in developing NAFLD, a chronic disease that often leads to a need for organ transplantation.
Information was obtained from more than 530 children under the age of 21 who were enrolled in the Database of the National Institute of Diabetes and Kidney Diseases NASH Clinical Research Network. The children had a diagnosis of NAFLD as confirmed by liver biopsy. The birth weights of the children were collected and compared to the distribution of birth weight categories in the general U.S. population.
"What our research found is that low-birth weight and high-birth weight were both associated with the severity of liver disease, but in different ways," said Jeffrey Schwimmer, MD, professor of pediatrics at UC San Diego School of Medicine and director of the Fatty Liver Clinic at Rady Children's Hospital-San Diego.
"Children with low-birth weight were more likely to develop severe scarring of the liver. However, children with high-birth weight were more likely to develop the hepatitis form of fatty liver disease."
- Jeffrey Schwimmer et al., Birth weight is risk factor for fatty liver disease in children, Journal of Pediatrics (2017).
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Julia Samuel. (2017, April 05). Risk of Fatty Liver Disease in Low and High Birth Weight Babies. Medindia. Retrieved on Aug 13, 2022 from https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/risk-of-fatty-liver-disease-in-low-and-high-birth-weight-babies-169073-1.htm.
Julia Samuel. "Risk of Fatty Liver Disease in Low and High Birth Weight Babies". Medindia. Aug 13, 2022. <https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/risk-of-fatty-liver-disease-in-low-and-high-birth-weight-babies-169073-1.htm>.
Julia Samuel. "Risk of Fatty Liver Disease in Low and High Birth Weight Babies". Medindia. https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/risk-of-fatty-liver-disease-in-low-and-high-birth-weight-babies-169073-1.htm. (accessed Aug 13, 2022).
Julia Samuel. 2021. Risk of Fatty Liver Disease in Low and High Birth Weight Babies. Medindia, viewed Aug 13, 2022, https://www.medindia.net/news/healthwatch/risk-of-fatty-liver-disease-in-low-and-high-birth-weight-babies-169073-1.htm.