Weight gain in young children has detrimental effects on liver health. A recent study found that an increased waist circumference in three year olds was linked to a greater likelihood of increased non-alcoholic fatty liver disease markers (elevated ATL levels – a liver enzyme that acts as a marker for liver disease) at age 8. Those children who had greater obesity gains between ages 3 and 8 were at greater risk of elevated ALT levels. While non-alcoholic liver disease is usually asymptomatic, it’s on the rise in overweight children and can lead to cirrhosis of the liver and liver cancer in adulthood. The Journal of Pediatrics
→Takeaway: ALT levels are usually tested in at-risk children starting at the age of 10, but this study illustrates that liver health is affected even earlier in children who are overweight and even more so in those who consistently gain excess weight between the ages of 3 and 8. The best way to fight fatty liver disease in both children and adults is to cut out processed foods from the diet and exercise regularly.