Document Type



Paediatrics and Child Health (East Africa)


Background While linked to obesity and associated with an increased cardiovascular morbidity, non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is an often-asymptomatic cause of chronic liver disease in children. Early detection provides opportunity for interventions to curb progression. Childhood obesity is on the rise in low/middle-income countries, but cause-specific mortality data associated with liver disease are scanty. Establishing the prevalence of NAFLD in overweight and obese Kenyan children would guide in public health policies aimed at early screening and intervention.

Objectives To investigate prevalence of NAFLD in overweight and obese children aged 6–18 years using liver ultrasonography.

Methodology This was a cross-sectional survey. After obtaining informed consent, a questionnaire was administered, and blood pressure (BP) measured. Liver ultrasonography was performed to assess fatty changes. Categorical variables were analysed using frequency and percentages. χ2 test and multiple logistic regression model were used to determine relationship between exposure and outcome variables.

Results Prevalence of NAFLD was 26.2% (27/103, 95% CI=18.0% to 35.8%). There was no association between sex and NAFLD (OR1.13, p=0.82; 95% CI=0.4 to 3.2). Obese children were four times more likely to have NAFLD compared with overweight children (OR=4.52, p=0.02; 95% CI=1.4 to 19.0). About 40.8% (n=41) had elevated BP, but there was no association with NAFLD (OR=2.06; p=0.27; 95% CI=0.6 to 7.6). Older children (13–18 years) were more likely to have NAFLD (OR 4.42; p=0.03; 95% CI=1.2 to 17.9).

Conclusion Prevalence of NAFLD was high in overweight and obese school children in Nairobi. Further studies are needed to identify modifiable risk factors to arrest progression and prevent sequelae.

Publication (Name of Journal)

BMJ Open Gastroenterology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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