Relation of physical activity to prevalence of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease independent of cardiometabolic risk

Ebenezer T. Oni, Rohan Kalathiya, Ehimen C. Aneni, Seth S. Martin, Michael J. Blaha, Theodore Feldman, Arthur S. Agatston, Roger S. Blumenthal, Raquel D. Conceiçao, Jose A.M. Carvalho, Raul D. Santos, Khurram Nasir

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is associated with obesity and insulin resistance and has been linked with increased cardiovascular risk. Although physical activity (PA) and lifestyle modification are often recommended in patients at cardiovascular risk, the benefit across the cardiometabolic risk spectrum is unclear. We aimed to evaluate the relation of PA and NAFLD independent of metabolic syndrome (MS) or obesity. We evaluated 5,743 healthy Brazilian subjects (43 ± 10 years, 79% men) without clinical coronary heart disease from December 2008 to December 2010. NAFLD was diagnosed using ultrasounds, and self-reported PA was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire scale. In a multivariate logistic regression adjusted for cardiometabolic risk factors, we evaluated for an independent association of NAFLD and PA. In the total study population, NAFLD prevalence was 36% (n = 2,075), obesity 23% (1,300), and MS 20% (1,152). NAFLD was more prevalent in subjects with MS (74%) than those without (26%) and in those obese (73%) than in those nonobese (25%). Overall, 1,305 (23%) subjects reported low activity, 1,990 (35%) moderate activity, and 2,448 (42%) high activity. NAFLD prevalence was lower at higher levels of reported PA (low 45%, moderate 38%, and high 30%, p <0.001). After adjusting for risk factors, subjects with high activity had lower odds of having NAFLD. The favorable association was independent of obesity or MS. In conclusion, PA presents a dose-response association with NAFLD independent of the MS or obesity. Our results are compatible with the idea that benefits of PA are relevant to everyone regardless of cardiometabolic risk.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)34-39
Number of pages6
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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