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Assessment of Diet and Physical Activity in Paediatric Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Patients: A United Kingdom Case Control Study

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Philippa Gibson, Sarah Lang, Marianne Gilbert, Deepa Kamat, Sanjay Bansal, Martha E Ford-Adams, Ashish P Desai, Anil Dhawan, Emer Fitzpatrick, J Bernadette Moore, Kathryn H Hart

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9721-9733
Accepted/In press26 Nov 2015
Published26 Nov 2015


King's Authors


Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children, with prevalence rising alongside childhood obesity rates. This study aimed to characterise the habitual diet and activity behaviours of children with NAFLD compared to obese children without liver disease in the United Kingdom (UK). Twenty-four biopsy-proven paediatric NAFLD cases and eight obese controls without biochemical or radiological evidence of NAFLD completed a 24-h dietary recall, a Physical Activity Questionnaire (PAQ), a Dutch Eating Behavior Questionnaire (DEBQ) and a 7-day food and activity diary (FAD), in conjunction with wearing a pedometer. Groups were well matched for age and gender. Obese children had higher BMI z-scores (p = 0.006) and BMI centiles (p = 0.002) than participants with NAFLD. After adjusting for multiple hypotheses testing and controlling for differences in BMI, no differences in macro- or micronutrient intake were observed as assessed using either 24-h recall or 7-day FAD (p > 0.001). Under-reporting was prevalent (NAFLD 75%, Obese Control 87%: p = 0.15). Restrained eating behaviours were significantly higher in the NAFLD group (p = 0.005), who also recorded more steps per day than the obese controls (p = 0.01). In conclusion, this is the first study to assess dietary and activity patterns in a UK paediatric NAFLD population. Only a minority of cases and controls were meeting current dietary and physical activity recommendations. Our findings do not support development of specific dietary/ physical activity guidelines for children with NAFLD; promoting adherence with current general paediatric recommendations for health should remain the focus of clinical management.

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