The findings suggest that rising rates of overweight and obesity worldwide about 1 billion people are projected to be obese by 2030 could lead to an increase in the number of cases of severe liver disease and cancer in the future, the researchers said.
Bernstein said the findings “highlight the importance of early intervention for this disorder to prevent significant liver disease which may occur decades in the future.”
Obesity, an abnormal medical condition, is becoming one of the most serious public health problems worldwide and its prevalence has dramatically increased in the last few decades. Obesity is defined as having a body mass index equal to or higher than 30 kg/m2. The marked increase in the worldwide incidence of obesity, particularly in children, has been noted by the World Health Organization.
Factors such as alcohol consumption and smoking by the men were taken into account and the researchers excluded men who received a diagnosis of alcoholic liver disease during follow-up from their analysis, but this did not significantly change their overall findings about excess risk associated with high BMI.
This was an observational study, so no firm conclusions can be drawn about cause and effect. However, the researchers said it was likely that the increased prevalence of overweight and obesity around the world could lead to an increase in the total number of cases with severe liver disease in the future, including an increasing incidence of liver cancer.