To study the prevalence of metabolic syndrome (MS), insulin resistance (IR) and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in overweight/obese children with clinical hepatomegaly and/or raised alanine aminotransferase (ALT).
Thirty-three overweight and obese children, aged 2-13 years, presenting with hepatomegaly and/or raised ALT, were studied for the prevalence of MS, IR and NAFLD. Laboratory analysis included fasting blood glucose, serum insulin, serum triglycerides (TG), total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-c), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) and liver biochemical profile, in addition to liver ultrasound and liver biopsy.
Twenty patients (60.6%) were labeled with MS. IR was present in 16 (48.4%). Fifteen (44%) patients had biopsy-proven NAFLD. Patients with MS were more likely to have NAFLD by biopsy (P=0.001). Children with NAFLD had significantly higher body mass index, waist circumference, ALT, total cholesterol, LDL-c, TG, fasting insulin, and lower HDL-c compared to patients with normal liver histology (P< 0.05) and fitted more with the criteria of MS (80% vs. 44%). IR was significantly more common among NAFLD patients (73% vs. 28%).
There is a close association between obesity, MS, IR and NAFLD. Obese children with clinical or biochemical hepatic abnormalities are prone to suffer from MS, IR and NAFLD.