Abstract P059: The Association between Fruit and Vegetable Intake and Alanine Aminotransferase Levels in Children
Purpose: Increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables is recommended for the prevention of childhood obesity. Obesity in children affects the liver, causing conditions such as elevated alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels. Elevated ALT levels in obese children may be associated with features of metabolic syndrome. Yet empirical evidence on the association between fruit and vegetable intake and ALT levels in children has been lacking.
Methods: A cross-sectional study design was used. Participants were 115 children aged 6 to 12 years, who were recruited from community child care centers in a community of Seoul metropolitan area in South Korea. Eating and activity behaviors were obtained by questionnaire administration. ALT levels were analyzed as a dichotomous variable with normal vs. abnormal values (≥30 IU/dL in boys and ≥19 IU/dL in girls). According to body mass index (BMI) percentile, participants were categorized into a normal-weight group of below the 85th percentile, an overweight group between the 85th and <95th percentiles, and an obese group at or above the 95th percentile. Eating behaviors were assessed via daily intake of fruits and vegetables as a dichotomous variable of 7 days vs. <7 days per week, and frequent intake of fast foods and sweetened beverages as dichotomous variables of < 3 days vs. ≥3 days per week. Daily physical activity was assessed as a dichotomous variable of 7 days vs. < 7 days per week. A logistic regression analysis was performed with an outcome variable of abnormal ALT and a predictor variable of daily fruit and vegetable intake, after adjusting for age, sex, income, alcohol consumption, frequent intake of fast food, frequent beverage intake, daily activity, and obesity groups.
Results: Participants were 53.0% female, with a mean age of 9.7 years and a mean BMI percentile of 49.4%. Of the total participants, 28.7% were overweight or obese, and 24.3% were in the abnormal range for ALT levels. In a multivariate-adjusted model, children with a daily intake of fruits and vegetables were significantly less likely to have abnormal ALT levels (odds ratio [OR]=0.27, p=.017). Moreover, the obese group was significantly more likely to have abnormal ALT levels than the normal-weight group (OR=9.6, p=.005).
Conclusions: Among children aged 6 to 12 years, daily fruit and vegetable intake was significantly and inversely associated with abnormal ALT levels, even after adjusting for overall obesity levels. Moreover, obesity in children was significantly associated with abnormal ALT levels. Therefore, ALT levels may reflect healthy eating behavior, especially fruit and vegetable intake, and a risk for obesity in children.
Author Disclosures: J. Choo: None. H. Kim: None. H. Yang: None. S. Kim: None. I. Lee: None.
- © 2014 by American Heart Association, Inc.