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TRENTON: In a new and disturbing twist on the obesity epidemic, some overweight teenagers have severe liver damage caused by too much body fat, and a handful have needed liver transplants.
Many more may need a new liver by their 30s or 40s, say experts, warning that paediatricians need to be more vigilant. The condition, which can lead to cirrhosis and liver failure or liver cancer, is being seen in kids in the U.S., Europe, Australia and even developing countries including India, say studies.
The American Liver Foundation estimates 2 per cent to 5 per cent of American children over age 5, nearly all of them overweight, have the condition, called non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
As fat builds up, the liver can become inflamed and then scarred over time, leading to cirrhosis. Liver failure or liver cancer can follow, but if cirrhosis has not yet developed, fatty liver disease can be reversed through weight loss. — AP
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