Prior to the turn of the 21st century, only a handful of cases of pediatric fatty liver disease were documented in medical literature. Today the non-alcoholic liver disease affects millions of children and has more than doubled according to data from 2017-2021. Fatty liver disease is now estimated to be about as common as asthma in children.1

Researchers estimate that 5 -10 percent of all children in the United States have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Pediatric gastroenterologist at Kentucky Children’s Hospital calls it “the worst disease you’ve never heard of.” Experts say the sharp increase is due somewhat to more diligent reporting and testing but that the trend is unmistakable.

Children of Mexican descent, some Asian subgroups, and impoverished children are affected by fatty liver disease at higher rates. However, the disease is seen in all racial and socioeconomic groups across the nation.1

Adult Diseases on the Rise in Children

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