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Thursday 22nd August 2019

Children at risk of liver disease

4th July 2011

England's National Clinical Director for Liver Disease has warned that half a million children could be in danger of developing fatty liver disease because of their weight.


Professor Martin Lombard said 500,000 four to 14-year-olds were at risk of the condition, which is caused when high levels of fat in liver cells prevent them from operating in the right way and can cause strokes and heart disease. 

The condition can also cause diabetes and cirrhosis of the liver as a person ages.

Professor Lombard made his calculations based on data from the National Child Measurement Programme.

He warned that up to 60,000 10-year-old children could be in danger of excessively high levels of fat in their livers, which could cause health problems as they aged.

Government data has shown that almost one fifth of children in the reception class of schools in England were overweight or obese.

In 10 and 11-year-old children this figure increased, with one third of pupils being overweight or obese.

Professor Lombard said: "The unfortunate problem with liver disease is you don't get any symptoms at all until it's at an advanced stage. So you get cirrhosis and then you have complications that arise from that cirrhosis which can be very serious."

"Parents should be concerned about children who are overweight as they will be at risk of developing fatty liver. If they don't become more active and lose the weight as they go on, then they become overweight adults and have a range of other risk factors as well." 


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