Prevalence of fatty liver due to metabolic dysfunction in overweight or obese adults

Fatty liver due to metabolic dysfunction (metabolic dysfunction-associated fatty liver disease; MAFLD) has a very high worldwide prevalence among overweight and obese adults.

This is apparent from a systematic review with meta-analysis that aimed to estimate the worldwide prevalence of MAFLD – the new name for non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) – in overweight and obese people in the overall population. The Chinese researchers found 116 relevant studies with a total of 2,667,052 participants, via the databases Medline, Embase, Web of Science, Cochrane and Google Scholar (until November 2020). They used a random-effects model for the statistical analysis. In addition, sensitivity analyzes and metaregression were used to investigate in a pooled analysis which factors could predict the MAFLD prevalence.

Based on the collected studies, the worldwide MAFLD prevalence among overweight or obese adults was estimated to be 50.7% (95% CI 46.9-54.4%), independent of the diagnostic techniques used. The most commonly used diagnostic technique was ultrasound and based on this the estimated prevalence was slightly higher: 51.3% (95% CI 49.1-53.4%). The prevalence was more significant in males (59.0%; 95% CI 52.0-65.6%) than among females (47.5%; 95% CI 40.7-54.5%).

Remarkably, the prevalence of MAFLD was comparable in the general population based on NAFLD and non-NAFLD studies. The pooled estimate of the prevalence of comorbidities was 19.7% (95% CI 12.8-29.0) for type 2 diabetes and 57.5% (95% CI 49.9-64.8) for the metabolic syndrome. The findings from this study require attention and action from general practitioners, medical specialists and policy makers, the researchers write.

Bron:
Liu J, Ayada I, Zhang X, et al. Estimating Global Prevalence of Metabolic Dysfunction-Associated Fatty Liver Disease in Overweight or Obese Adults. Clin Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2022;20:e573-e582.

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