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Background: Non-alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD) is a recognised public health problem in the developed world. The prevalence of NAFLDis escalating in developing countries along with increased prevalence of metabolic syndrome. Limited medical literature on NAFLD is contributed by American and European countries which may not be generalizable to Asians. Hence, it is important to study the Asian experience, particularly South-East Asian region (SEAR) with respect to NAFLD for better understanding.
Methods: All published articles in the MEDLINE database on NAFLD in South-East Asia were included. The important findings were summarized and critically analysed.
Results: Prevalence of NAFLD in the SEAR region ranges from 8.0% to 77.0%. NAFLD in South east Asia was associated with metabolic syndrome particularly obesity and insulin resistance. ‘Lean NAFLD’ is a novel concept that describes NAFLD among non-obese individuals.
Conclusion: NAFLD is an emerging problem in South-east Asia. This review summarizes the prevalence of NAFLD in SEAR region and discusses the implications of these findings. Further population-based studies on prevalence and incidence are required on obese and lean NAFLD to quantify the magnitude of the disease in SEAR for better management of the condition.
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