Symptoms and quality of life in obese children and adolescents with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease

K D Kistler, J Molleston, A Unalp, S H Abrams, C Behling, J B Schwimmer, Bradley Aouizerat, Nonalcoholic Steatohepatitis Clinical Research Network (NASH CRN)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Data on the quality of life (QOL) of children with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) are needed to estimate the true burden of illness in children with NAFLD.

AIM: To characterize QOL and symptoms of children with NAFLD and to compare QOL in children with NAFLD with that in a sample of healthy children.

METHODS: Quality of life and symptoms were assessed in children with biopsy-proven NAFLD enrolled in the NASH Clinical Research Network. PedsQL scores were compared with scores from healthy children. For children with NAFLD, between-group comparisons were made to test associations of demography, histological severity, symptoms and QOL.

RESULTS: A total of 239 children (mean age 12.6 years) were studied. Children with NAFLD had worse total (72.8 vs. 83.8, P < 0.01), physical (77.2 vs. 87.5, P < 0.01) and psychosocial health (70.4 vs. 81.9, P < 0.01) scores compared with healthy children. QOL scores did not significantly differ by histological severity of NAFLD. Fatigue, trouble sleeping and sadness accounted for almost half of the variance in QOL scores. Impaired QOL was present in 39% of children with NAFLD.

CONCLUSIONS: Children with NAFLD have a decrement in QOL. Symptoms were a major determinant of this impairment. Interventions are needed to restore and optimize QOL in children with NAFLD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)396-406
Number of pages11
JournalAlimentary pharmacology & therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Adolescent
  • Anthropometry
  • Child
  • Fatigue
  • Fatty Liver
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Obesity
  • Prevalence
  • Quality of Life
  • Reference Values
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


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