Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) has become a serious public health problem worldwide; however, the availability of information on the prevalence of NAFLD in the general pediatric population is still limited. The primary aim of this study was to reveal the prevalence and correlates of suspected NAFLD in Chinese children at the national level. Data from the China Health and Nutrition Surveys (CHNS) was used. Weight, height, waist circumference (WC), blood pressure (BP) were measured for children aged 7–18 years. Blood samples were collected and analyzed. Children were classified as having suspected NAFLD if common causes of liver disease were excluded, and serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) values were above the established thresholds (>22.1 IU/L for girls and >25.8 IU/L for boys). A percentage of 9.03% (75 out of 831) of Chinese children was found to have suspected NAFLD. Overweight and obesity according to BMI percentiles, abdominal obesity, hyperuricemia (uric acid (UA) > 327 μmol/L), and elevated total cholesterol (TC) were all detected as the correlates of childhood suspected NAFLD when adjusting for other factors. Our study revealed the prevalence of suspected NAFLD in general Chinese children at the national level for the first time. Our findings indicate that suspected NAFLD in children is associated with increasing childhood morbidities, further studies are needed to better understand the prevalence of childhood NAFLD and its correlates, and large-scale programs should be launched to screen NAFLD in the pediatric population in China.
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