Data from the Global Burden of Disease study indicates that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is the most rapidly increasing global contributor to chronic liver disease (CLD)-associated complications, which include the onset of cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Furthermore, it is known that metabolic conditions such as type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and obesity significantly increase both the risk of possessing NAFLD and of progressing to advanced liver disease and mortality.
The aim of this meta-analysis was to investigate the global and regional epidemiology of NAFLD and its evolution between 1990 and 2019.
The overall global prevalence of NAFLD across the total study period was found to be 30.1%. A 50.4% increase in this global prevalence was noted between 1990 and 2019. The highest prevalence was found to be in Latin America, followed by the Middle East and North Africa. These rates are higher than those reported previously and are congruous with the rising global epidemic of obesity and T2DM. These findings highlight the pressing need for strategies to both bring awareness to and effectively manage NAFLD on local, regional, and global scales.