Physical activity is related to fatty liver marker in obese youth, independently of central obesity or cardiorespiratory fitness
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Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is one of the most frequent complications associated with excess adiposity and has been identified as the leading cause of liver disease in pediatric populations worldwide. Because cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) is related to physical activity (PA) levels, and increased PA plays a protective role against NAFLD risk factors, the aim of this study was to analyze the association between PA and a fatty liver marker (alanine aminotransferase - ALT) in obese children and adolescents, independently of central adiposity or CRF. 131 obese children (83 girls, 7-15 year-olds) involved in a PA promotion program comprised the sample. Measurements included anthropometric and body composition evaluations (DEXA), biological measurements (venipuncture), CRF (progressive treadmill test), PA (accelerometry), and maturational stage (Tanner criteria). The associations between ALT with PA intensities, central obesity, and CRF were calculated by three different models of linear regression, adjusted for potential confounders. Level of significance was set at 95%. RESULTS: ALT was negatively associated with MVPA (β = -0.305), and CRF (β = - 0.426), and positively associated with central obesity (β=.468). After adjustment for central obesity the negative and statistically significant association between ALT with MVPA (β = -0.364) and CRF (β = -0.550) still persists while a positive and significantly correlation was shown between ALT and SB (β = 0.382). Additional adjustment for CRF (Model 3) showed significant associations for all the PA intensities analyzed including light activity. PA at different intensities is associated to a fatty liver marker in obese children and adolescents, independently of central adiposity or CRF.