International Liver Congress

International Liver Congress

April 18, 2016
1 min read

Maternal factors impact risk for NAFLD development in adolescence

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BARCELONA — Whether a mother has low BMI and breastfeeds her child may lower the risk for that child developing nonalcoholic fatty liver disease later in life, according to study findings presented at the International Liver Congress.

“Our results demonstrate the grave impact maternal factors can have on the risk of developing liver disease in adolescence,” Oyekoya Ayonrinde, MBBS FRACP, clinical senior lecturer for medicine and pharmacology, University of Western Australia, said in a press release.

Ayonrinde and colleagues enrolled 1,170 adolescents aged 17 years and administered questionnaires, performed direct interviews, physical examinations and liver tests, to collect data on maternal pregnancy, birth, childhood and adolescent characteristics. Each patient also underwent ultrasound.

“We wanted to see if there was any association between adolescent nonalcoholic fatty liver disease, maternal factors and infant nutrition,” Ayonrinde said.

Results showed 15.2% of the cohort had NAFLD (n = 179). A lower prevalence of adolescent NAFLD in patients who were exclusively breastfed as infants for 6 months or more (11.3%) compared with adolescents breastfed for less than 6 months (17.8%; P = .003) was observed. However, breastfeeding after 9 months of age did not continue to reduce the likelihood of developing NAFLD during adolescence (OR = 0.73; 95% CI, 0.46-1.16).

The adolescents born to mothers with a pre-pregnancy normal BMI had decreased risk for developing NAFLD compared with mothers who had obesity pre-pregnancy (OR = 0.49; 95% CI, 0.33-0.72).

There were no associations observed between development of NAFLD and type of milk consumed at 1 year of age, age at introduction of solid foods, maternal age or smoking.

“These findings suggest a potential benefit of exclusive breastfeeding for [more than] 6 months to reduce the odds of a NAFLD diagnosis during adolescence. Other modifiable maternal factors, including obesity, are also associated with NAFLD in adolescents,” Ayonrinde and colleagues wrote in the abstract.

In a press release from EASL, Laurent Castera, MD, PhD, EASL secretary-general, said, “The findings of this large-scale study have enhanced our understanding of what factors can contribute towards future NAFLD in adolescence. The notable difference in the results demonstrate the importance of proper infant nutrition and the benefit of exclusive and extended breastfeeding for 6 months.” – by Melinda Stevens


Ayonrinde O, et al. Abstract FRI-321. Presented at: International Liver Congress; April 13-17, 2016; Barcelona

Disclosure: The researchers report no relevant financial disclosures.