NAFLD is characterized by excess fat buildup in your liver. Without proper treatment, it can lead to serious liver problems including nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), which causes inflammation and fibrosis, or scarring of the liver. NAFLD also increases the risk of other health conditions, including cardiovascular disease
The first documented cases of nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) didn’t come about until 1980. Today, NAFLD affects 32.4% of people globally, and it’s the most common cause of liver transplant in adults under the age of 50
NAFLD also affects up to 9.6% of American children aged 2 to 19, making it as common as asthma. In 15- to 19-year-olds, prevalence is as high as 17.3%. Prevalence among children 0 to 17 has risen 168.3% since 2017, with a particularly precipitous rise starting in 2020
The dramatic rise in NAFLD in early 2020 may in part be due to the COVID lockdowns, which had the effect of raising childhood obesity rates by 8.3% to 13.4%, depending on the age group
Maternal obesity and high consumption of diet soda and/or junk food during pregnancy have both been linked to NAFLD in offspring, and one theory is that artificial sweeteners may be programming the metabolism of the fetus to favor fat storage over energy production

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