Semin Liver Dis 2007; 27(3): 312-318
DOI: 10.1055/s-2007-985075
Copyright © 2007 by Thieme Medical Publishers, Inc., 333 Seventh Avenue, New York, NY 10001, USA.

Definitive Diagnosis and Assessment of Risk for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Children and Adolescents

Jeffrey B. Schwimmer1
  • 1Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition, Department of Pediatrics, University of California, San Diego; and Rady Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, California
Further Information

Publication History

Publication Date:
08 August 2007 (online)


This review covers the diagnosis and epidemiology of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in children and adolescents. Pediatric NAFLD remains a clinicopathologic diagnosis requiring direct demonstration of liver steatosis and the exclusion of other causes of fatty liver and/or hepatitis. NAFLD is the most common cause of chronic liver disease in children. The number of children with NAFLD presents a major public health crisis. Age, sex, race, ethnicity, and body habitus all influence the risk for NAFLD. The epidemiology of pediatric NAFLD should inform future attempts to develop rigorously evaluated screening protocols. Moreover, these data should guide efforts to delineate the pathophysiology in children and adolescents. Our future ability to prevent and treat pediatric NAFLD is dependent upon such work.


Jeffrey B Schwimmer, M.D. 

UCSD Medical Center, 200 West Arbor Drive

San Diego, CA 92103-8450