J Gastroenterol Hepatol 2013 Aug;28 Suppl 1:11-7
Department of Gastroenterology, Shanghai Key Laboratory of Children's Digestion and Nutrition, Xin-Hua Hospital Affiliated to Shanghai Jiao-Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China.
The prevalence of patients presenting with fatty liver disease (FLD) in China has approximately doubled over the past two decades. At present, FLD, which is typically diagnosed by imaging, is highly prevalent (≈ 27% urban population) in China and is mainly related to obesity and metabolic syndrome (MetS). However, the percentage of alcoholic liver disease (ALD) among patients with chronic liver diseases in clinic is increasing as well, and a synergetic effect exists between heavy alcohol drinking and obesity in ALD. Prevalence figures reveal regional variations, with a median prevalence of ALD and nonalcoholic FLD (NAFLD) of 4.5% and 15.0%, respectively. The prevalence of NAFLD in children is 2.1%, although the prevalence increases to 68.2% among obese children. With the increasing pandemic of obesity and MetS in the general population, China is likely to harbor an increasing reservoir of patients with FLD. The risk factors for FLD resemble to those of Caucasian counterparts, but the ethnic-specific definitions of obesity and MetS are more useful in assessment of Chinese people. Therefore, FLD/NAFLD has become a most common chronic liver disease in China. Public health interventions are needed to halt the worldwide trend of obesity and alcohol abuse to ameliorate liver injury and to improve metabolic health.