Metabolic-associated fatty liver disease as assessed by the fatty liver index among migrant and non-migrant ghanaian populations

Anne-Marieke van Dijk*, Sjoerd Dingerink, Felix Patience Chilunga, Karlijn Anna Catharina Meeks, Silver Bahendeka, Matthias Bernd Schulze, Ina Danquah, Erik Serné, Tracy Bonsu Osei, Charles Agyemang, Adriaan Georgius Holleboom

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background and Aims: Metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD) is driven by high caloric intake and sed-entary lifestyle. Migration towards high income countries may induce these driving factors; yet, the influence of such on the prevalence of MAFLD is clearly understudied. Here, we investigated the Fatty Liver Index (FLI), a proxy of steatosis in MAFLD, after migration of Ghanaian sub-jects. Methods: Cross-sectional data of 5282 rural, urban and migrant participants from the Research on Obesity and Diabetes among African Migrants (also known as RODAM) study were analyzed with logistic regression for geographi-cal differences in FLI and associations with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM), waist-to-hip ratio, and 10-year predicted risk of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). Results: Both FLI and the proportion with an FLI indica-tive of MAFLD steatosis (FLI ≥60) were higher in migrants compared with non-migrants. Prevalence of elevated FLI (FLI ≥60) in non-migrant males was 4.2% compared to 28.9% in migrants. For females, a similar gradient was ob-served, from 13.6% to 36.6% respectively. Compared to rural residents, the odds for a FLI ≥60 were higher in migrants living in urban Europe (odds ratio [OR] 9.02, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 5.02–16.20 for men, and 4.00, 95% CI: 3.00–5.34 for women). Compared to controls, the ORs for FLI ≥60 were 2.43 (95% CI: 1.73–3.41) for male T2DM cases and 2.02 (95% CI: 1.52–2.69) for female T2DM cases. One-unit higher FLI was associated with an elevated (≥7.5%) 10-year ASCVD risk (OR: 1.051, 95% CI: 1.041–1.062 for men, and 1.020, 95% CI: 1.015–1.026 for women). Conclusions: FLI as a proxy for MAFLD increased stepwise in Ghanaians from rural areas, through urban ar-eas, to Europe. Our results clearly warrant awareness for MAFLD in migrant population as well as confirmation with imaging modalities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)494-502
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical and Translational Hepatology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 21 May 2021

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