ExerciseLiver Disease

Leisure activity and nonalcoholic fatty liver

 Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a fatty inflammation of the liver that is not due to excessive alcohol use. Surprisingly, it is found in nearly one-third of urban dwelling American adults, according to 1 study.

Researchers from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center in Israel studied the relationship between leisure-time physical activity and NAFLD, which is often recommended as part of treatment.

First, the details.

  • 39 people participated in the study.
  • After diagnostic testing to divide the participants into NAFLD and non-NAFLD groups, a food frequency questionnaire and a detailed physical activity questionnaire were administered.

And, the results.

  • The NAFLD group engaged in less physical activity.
  • The SteatoTest (a non-invasive test for fatty liver) was significantly lower among those who engaged in any physical activity or resistance physical activity at least once a week.
    • In resistance training, muscles work against resistance to gain mass.
  • Physical activity at least once a week was associated with a reduced risk for abdominal obesity.
  • After adjusting for sex, greater participation in any kind of sport and resistance exercise was associated with a lower risk of NAFLD.
  • After adjusting the results for all possible confounding variables, only the association with resistance physical activity remained significant.

The bottom line?
The authors concluded, “Habitual leisure-time physical activity, especially anaerobic, may play a protective role in NAFLD. This association appears to be mediated by a reduced rate of abdominal obesity.”

1/13/09 19:07 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at www.Vicus.com, a complementary and alternative medicine website.