Washington: When it comes to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease complications, it is waist that matters, not the weight, according to a recent study.
The study demonstrated that a build-up of fat around the waist can cause more serious complications than obesity in the development of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD).
While NAFLD is commonly associated with obesity, research has highlighted that a percentage of patients are not actually obese, said lead author Dr Rosa Lombardi from the University of Milan.
Lombardi added that this is the first study to show that patients with lean-NAFLD who have increased levels of waist fat can in fact be at greater risk than obese patients with NAFLD.
The researchers in the Italian study evaluated the features of lean-NAFLD in 323 patients with biopsy-proven NAFLD. Subjects were divided according to BMI, waist circumference and abdominal fat.
The research also suggested that metabolic, cardiovascular and tissue complications caused by NAFLD can be more effectively detected by combining Body Mass Index (BMI) and waist measurements.
Professor Frank Tacke, EASL Governing Board Member, said that the results have highlighted the need for additional research into why analysing someone's waist, and not just their weight, is important in detecting individuals at risk for complications associated with this disease.
The study was presented at The International Liver CongressTM 2016 in Barcelona, Spain.