Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease: Prevalence and all-cause mortality according to sedentary behaviour and cardiorespiratory fitness. The HUNT Study

Ilaria Croci, Jeff S. Coombes, Silvana Bucher Sandbakk, Shelley E. Keating, Javaid Nauman, Graeme A. Macdonald, Ulrik Wisloff

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Sedentary behaviour (SB) and low physical activity (PA) are independently associated with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). Compared to PA, high cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF) has been associated with a higher protection against all-cause mortality and a number of specific diseases. However, this relationship has not been investigated in NAFLD. This study examined the roles of SB and CRF on: i) the likelihood of having NAFLD in the general population, and ii) the risk of mortality over 9 years within individuals having NAFLD. Methods: A cross-sectional analysis of 15,781 adults (52% female; age range 19–95 years) was conducted. Self-reported SB was divided into tertiles. CRF was estimated using validated non-exercise models, and the presence of NAFLD from the Fatty Liver Index. Adjusted Odds Ratios and 95% Confidence Intervals for NAFLD were estimated using logistic regression analyses. Hazard Ratios for all-cause mortality were estimated using Cox proportional hazard regression in individuals with NAFLD. Results: For each additional 1 h/d of SB, the likelihood of having NAFLD was significantly increased by 4% (CI, 3–6%). In combined analyses, compared with the reference group [high CRF and low (≤4 h/d) SB], individuals with low CRF had a markedly higher likelihood of having NAFLD (OR, 16.9; CI 12.9–22.3), even if they had SB ≤ 4 h/d. High CRF attenuated the negative role of SB up to 7 h/d on NAFLD. Over 9.4 ± 1.3 years of follow-up, individuals with NAFLD and low CRF had the risk of mortality increased by 52% (CI, 10–106%) compared to those with high CRF, regardless of SB or meeting PA guidelines. Conclusions: Low CRF increases the risk of premature death in individuals with NAFLD, and is strongly associated with higher likelihood of having NAFLD, outweighing the influence of SB.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-134
Number of pages8
JournalProgress in Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019


  • Exercise
  • Hepatic steatosis
  • Peak oxygen consumption
  • Physical activity
  • Prevention
  • Sitting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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