To examine the longitudinal relationship of early to mid-childhood adiposity measures with mid-childhood alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels.
We studied 635 children in the Project Viva cohort. Research staff measured weight, height, skinfolds thicknesses, and waist and hip circumferences at early (median 3.2 years) and mid-childhood (median 7.7 years) visits. At mid-childhood, we collected blood for ALT analysis. We used established sex-specific ALT cut-offs to define elevated ALT. In multivariable linear and logistic regression models, we assessed the association of adiposity measures from early to mid-childhood with mid-childhood ALT level, adjusting for confounders.
Children were 48% female, 59% white, 21% black, 6% Hispanic/Latino, and 3% Asian. At early childhood, 29% had overweight/obesity and mean waist circumference was 51.5 (SD 3.8) cm. At mid-childhood, mean ALT was 20.3 (SD 7.3) units/L, and 23% had an elevated ALT. In multivariable-adjusted regression models, each additional 10-cm greater waist circumference at early childhood was associated with 1.99 (95% CI 1.19-3.33) greater odds of elevated ALT at mid-childhood. Greater increases from early to mid-childhood in body mass index z score, sum of subscapular and triceps skinfold thicknesses, waist circumference, and hip circumference were associated with greater ALT at mid-childhood.
In this prospective cohort, greater waist circumference at early childhood and greater increases in adiposity measures from early to mid-childhood were associated with greater ALT levels at mid-childhood.