Reuters Health Information (2005-01-28): Hispanics at increased risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Hispanics at increased risk of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
Last Updated: 2005-01-28 15:15:18 -0400 (Reuters Health)
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Among the various racial
groups in the US, Hispanics appear to be at increased risk of
nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), new research suggests.
"Our findings highlight the need for increased awareness of NAFLD
within minority racial-ethnic groups, the need for culturally sensitive
educational programs aimed at the early recognition and prevention of
NAFLD, as well as the need for ensuring adequate representation of
different racial-ethnic groups in future clinical studies," senior
author Dr. Norah A. Terrault, from the University of California at San
Francisco, and colleagues note.
The findings, which appear in the February issue of Hepatology, are
based on a study of 742 patients with newly diagnosed chronic liver
disease that were drawn from a racially diverse representative US
Overall, 21.4% of subjects had definite or probable NAFLD, the
investigators note. Of the nonwhite patients, 28% were Hispanic, 18%
were Asian, 3% were African American, and 6% were in other racial or
African American patients with NAFLD were significantly older than
patients of other racial groups. The authors also found that among
Asians, males were 3.5-times more likely to have NAFLD than females.
In all of the groups, obesity, hyperlipidemia, and diabetes were
associated with NAFLD. However, Asians with NAFLD had lower BMIs than
patients of other racial groups.
As noted, Hispanics constituted 28% of NALFD patients, yet in the
base population, this group only made up 10% of subjects. Conversely,
although whites made up 45% of NAFLD patients, the base population was
"These racial and gender variations may reflect differences in
genetic susceptibility to visceral adiposity, including hepatic
involvement, and may have implications for the evaluation of persons
with the metabolic syndrome," the investigators state.