Parent alert: pediatric fatty liver disease

Child with doctor

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) A common cause of liver disease in children is on the rise. Pediatric fatty liver disease is a spectrum of diseases that begin when excess fat builds up in the liver of a child. It is the most common cause of liver disease in children, occurring in one third of obese children.

Dr. Peter Freswick is a Pediatric Gastroenterology at Spectrum Health Medical Group and an expert in the area. He says, if left untreated, fatty liver disease can result in a variety of consequences to a child’s liver. One is liver inflammation, which may be reversible with treatment. More permanent health risks are scarring of the liver or liver failure, which may result in the need for a liver transplant.

Fatty liver disease is diagnosed through blood work, liver ultrasounds, and liver biopsies.

To lower risk of pediatric fatty liver disease, kids should try to avoid sugary drinks and remain physically active. Spectrum Health recommends children get at least an hour of physical activity a day and try to limit their screen time to a maximum of two hours per day. Maintaining a healthy diet of five servings of fruits and veggies is also recommended.

Parents should talk to their child’s primary care physician for a referral to Spectrum Health Pediatric Gastroenterology.

Pediatric Gastroenterology
35 Michigan Street NE, Suite 4150
Grand Rapids, MI 49503
(616) 267-2100

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