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Vol. 79, No. 2, 2013
Issue release date: March 2013
Horm Res Paediatr 2013;79:103-109

Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Prepubertal Children Born Small for Gestational Age: Influence of Rapid Weight Catch-Up Growth

Faienza M.F. · Brunetti G. · Ventura A. · D'Aniello M. · Pepe T. · Giordano P. · Monteduro M. · Cavallo L.
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Background/Aims: We studied the association of low birth weight with ultrasound-assessed nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) to test the hypothesis that fetal growth retardation followed by a rapid weight catch-up growth might be an additional factor responsible for liver steatosis via insulin resistance (IR) and/or intra-abdominal fat. Methods: We enrolled 23 children born small for gestational age (SGA) with a rapid catch-up growth within the first 6-12 months, and 24 appropriate for gestational age (AGA) children as controls. All children underwent anthropometric, body composition measurements and evaluation of liver function tests, lipid profile, plasma glucose and insulin levels. Abdominal ultrasonography was performed in order to asses liver steatosis and thickness of subcutaneous and visceral adipose tissue. Results: NAFLD were observed in 8 out of the 23 SGA children (34.8%). IR and visceral fat were significantly increased in children with hepatic steatosis compared to those without. IR index was significantly related to liver steatosis, independently of body mass index standard deviation score and visceral fat. Conclusions: NAFLD should be recognized as an emerging problem in SGA prepubertal children who presented a rapid weight gain in postnatal life, and IR plays the key role. An appropriate diet during pregnancy and in the first year of life might prevent metabolic syndrome and NAFLD in these subjects.

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