Effective public health education is critical to control the rising trend of obesity in the general population. I was spurred into taking personal action after reading through a recent publication on Non-Alcohol fatty liver disease (NAFLD). NAFLD is a medical condition in which there is increased accumulation of fat in the liver. It is a common form of liver disease in the United States of America and in many developed countries of the world. It affects all age-groups but the occurrence is higher in men compared to women before the age of 60 years. It is not associated with alcohol consumption and a medical history of consumption of alcohol greater than 20g/day or 25ml, excludes diagnosis of NAFLD.

Although, the exact cause of NAFLD is not known, the following are indentified as risk factors for the disease – obesity (increased abdominal fat), diabetes, family history (genetic disposition in men of Indian origin), some medications (aspirin, antiviral drugs, anti-hypertensive drugs, and anti-cancer drugs), excess consumption of fructose containing soft drinks. The common symptoms include fatigue, feeling ill (malaise), abdominal discomfort, and occasional yellowness of the eyes (jaundice).

The diagnosis is with a liver biopsy to ascertain fat deposits in the liver and identify the stage of the disease. The treatment for NAFLD includes diet modification, exercises to gradually lose weight, use of some anti-diabetic drugs (metformin, and pioglitazone), and weight reduction surgery.

The purpose of this piece is to encourage all to take positive health action, especially with the rising trends of obesity and diabetes worldwide. Start with an assessment of your body mass index (BMI). If you fall into the Overweight or Obese categories on the BMI chart, then it is time to adopt a disciplined exercise culture and maintain healthy eating habits. For those whose weight is adequate, maintain the healthy eating habits and lifestyle.

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