DOI: 10.3390/jcm12175603 ISSN:

Aerobic and Muscle-Strengthening Physical Activity, Television Viewing, and Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease: The CARDIA Study

Daniel J. McDonough, Mahesh Mathew, Zachary C. Pope, Pamela J. Schreiner, David R. Jacobs, Lisa B. VanWagner, John Jeffrey Carr, James G. Terry, Kelley Pettee Gabriel, Jared P. Reis, Mark A. Pereira
  • General Medicine

Background: The prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) in U.S. adults is over 30%, yet the role of lifestyle factors in the etiology of NAFLD remains understudied. We examined the associations of physical activity, by intensity and type, and television viewing with prevalent NAFLD. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis of a population-based sample of 2726 Black (49%) and White (51%) adults (Mean (SD) age, 50 (3.6) years; 57.3% female) from the CARDIA study. Exposures were aerobic activity by intensity (moderate, vigorous; hours/week); activity type (aerobic, muscle-strengthening; hours/week); and television viewing (hours/week), examined concurrently in all models and assessed by validated questionnaires. Our outcome was NAFLD (liver attenuation < 51 Hounsfield Units), measured by non-contrast computed tomography, after exclusions for other causes of liver fat. Covariates were sex, age, race, study center, education, diet quality, smoking status, alcohol consumption, and body mass index or waist circumference. Results: 648 participants had NAFLD. In the fully adjusted modified Poisson regression model, the risk ratios per interquartile range of each exposure were moderate-intensity aerobic activity, 1.10 (95% CI, 0.97–1.26); vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, 0.72 (0.63–0.82); muscle-strengthening activity, 0.89 (0.80–1.01); and television viewing, 1.20 (1.10–1.32). Relative to less active participants with higher levels of television viewing, those who participated in ≥2 h/week of both vigorous-intensity aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity and <7 h/week of television viewing had 65% lower risk of NAFLD (risk ratio = 0.35, 95% CI = 0.23–0.51). Conclusion: Adults who follow public health recommendations for vigorous-aerobic and muscle-strengthening activity, as well as minimize television viewing, are considerably less likely to have NAFLD than those who do not follow the recommendations and who have relatively high levels of television viewing.

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