Very recently, a survey was done among high school students in Delhi and to everyone’s horror; it was found that more than 20 percent of these students were suffering from the dreaded disease known as non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Much of this was happening because they were eating an excessive amount of junk food and at the same time were not doing a whole lot of exercise or taking part in a lot of physical activity.
Let’s find out what NAFLD is and how it affects children on this digital health platform.
What is Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) can be termed as liver inflammation, which happens when an excessive amount of fat is deposited on the same. It can contribute to several health conditions such as the liver getting scarred, failure of the liver, and cirrhosis of the liver to name a few.
In fact, in spite of being non-alcoholic, the damage that it causes can be a lot similar to the damage that the liver suffers because of excessive intake of alcohol.
How can the damage be reversed?
If it is the early stage of one’s life, then there is still a chance that the damage can be reversed. However, for that to happen there has to be a significant amount of lifestyle change, to say the least. The sole symptom of this disease is a pain in the abdominal area. This is the reason why, alarmingly enough, the percentage of cases of NAFLD that may lead to cirrhosis of the liver is similar to the rate of alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Who conducted the studies on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD)?
The studies on Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) were done by the Inclen Trust and the Apollo Hospitals. In all 961 children were studied under the survey and their age was between 5 and 10. There were students from around 13 private schools. It was discovered that more than 22 percent of the children in the normal range of weight were also suffering from NAFLD.
Among overweight children, 45.6 percent were suffering from this disease.
Findings of the study
In the study, it was found that the number of obese children was even higher. There was another survey done on 218 children who were between the ages of 10 to 16 years. All these kids had a high body mass index (BMI). Among them, 62.5 percent were found to be suffering from NAFLD.
What are the researchers saying?
Dr. Vandana Jain led the study. She headed the pediatric endocrinology department of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) during 2016.
She said that to study Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) among overweight children they needed lean adults who did not have NAFLD to play the role of controls. In all 128 lean adults were tested as part of the study and 34 of them actually, as it turned out, were suffering from NAFLD. This is the reason why they could not become part of the study.
Even as we speak, the situation with obesity in India gets worse. The number of children fighting obesity in India is rising at a steady rate – it had gone up from 16.3 percent between 2001 and 2005 to 19.3 percent during 2010.
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