How issues such as geography, lifestyles and genetics affect these rates requires more research. Although the highest rates of obesity are still found in North America and Europe, the mean body mass index (BMI) has increased worldwide, including Asia, the Middle East and Africa. Currently, rates of NAFLD in Europe vary in report from 10.8% to 48%, depending on country, sociodemographic factors, methods used to assess NAFLD and others. Interestingly, the Middle East has been found in some studies to have the highest NAFLD prevalence in the world. Furthermore, NAFLD appears to disproportionately affect the Latino population, although data is scarce from these populations, just as it is in African populations. In Asia, rates of NAFLD have risen significantly from 25.3% in 1999–2005 to 33.9% in 2012–2017. Overall, among all ethnicities, there is an estimated heritability of 20%–70% for NAFLD genetically, with the percentage varying with study design and diagnostic approaches; diet, lifestyle and comorbidities further affect this.
This review by Yip TCF et al. aimed to discuss the geographic and genetic burdens of NAFLD.
Overall, NAFLD is prevalent throughout the entire world, with increasing prevalence in most countries alongside the rising levels of type 2 diabetes and obesity. Increasing public education and improving relevant health policies globally will help to combat this epidemic.