Obesity has been described as a pandemic of the 21st century. Nearly two thirds of the adult UK population are now either overweight or obese. Levels of childhood obesity have also risen dramatically over recent decades and continue to rise. In 1995, one in every 10 children in the UK aged between 2 and 15 years was obese. Now, it is one child in every six.1
Obesity is a chronic metabolic disease that arises from the complex interplay of numerous environmental, behavioural and genetic influences. It is characterised by excessive amounts of adipose tissue (fat), either subcutaneously or viscerally and is strongly associated with an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, numerous psychiatric disorders and cancers.2
Between 1980 and 2013, the number of people worldwide who were either overweight or obese rose from 857 million to 2.1 billion.3 This means that, worldwide, there are now more people who are overweight than starving.4
The relationship between obesity and chronic liver disease, specifically non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), throughout childhood, adolescence and adulthood, remains critically under-appreciated by healthcare professionals and patients.