Ideal CV health behaviors tied to lower odds of NAFLD
Ideal CV health behaviors were associated with lower nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, prevalence among participants in the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis cohort.
“Our study shows that cardiovascular health is related to other outcomes and not just cardiovascular disease outcomes and that [Life’s Simple 7] could be a target for prevention of liver disease across ethnic populations,” Ebenezer Oni, MD, MPH, cardiologist in the division of cardiology at the Heart and Vascular Institute at Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, and colleagues wrote. “NAFLD is strongly linked to insulin resistance, obesity and metabolic syndrome; all of which are associated with cardiovascular disease.”
The cross-sectional analysis involved 3,901 participants from the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) cohort. For each participant, CV health scores were calculated according to the American Heart Association’s Life’s Simple 7 metrics. Each participant was rated inadequate, average or optimal for each metric. NAFLD was defined through noncontrast cardiac CT and liver/spleen attenuation ratio.
In overall CV health scores, 19% of participants were optimal, 33% were average and 48% were inadequate. Researchers observed a higher likelihood of having an optimal score among white participants (51%) compared with Black participants (16%; P < .001).
The overall prevalence of NAFLD among the MESA cohort was 18% (mean age, 63 years; 56% women). The prevalence of NAFLD was 7% in those with optimal CV health scores, 14% in those with average scores and 25% in those with inadequate scores (P < .001).
After adjustment for risk factors, compared with participants with inadequate scores, those with optimal (OR = 0.44; 95% CI, 0.36-0.54) and average (OR = 0.19; 95% CI, 0.14-0.26) CV health scores had lower odds of NAFLD.
These results were similar across sex, race and age groups in the cohort.
According to the researchers, these findings reaffirm the relevance of the AHA’s 2020 strategic impact goals in promoting overall well-being.
“Focusing on the [Life’s Simple 7] targets may be an appropriate prevention strategy for promoting hepatic health,” the researchers wrote. “Further research on the longitudinal association of Life’s Simple 7 and NAFLD risk, including multi-ethnic populations, is needed.”