SRINAGAR: Doctors in Kashmir have expressed concern over the increasing prevalence of fatty liver disease in the region, saying sedentary lifestyles and the consumption of junk food are the main reasons behind its surge.

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Doctors said that approximately one in three persons in Kashmir suffer from fatty liver, with young people being mostly affected.

According to the leading oncologist Dr Zahoor, fatty liver, also known as nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH), has become a major lifestyle-related disease globally.

He said it is closely associated with the intake of high-calorie, processed foods, coupled with insufficient physical activity. Persons with fatty liver often exhibit high BMI, hypertension, and diabetes mellitus, he said.

Dr Tariq, a general physician, highlighted the various lifestyle factors contributing to the rise in liver diseases, particularly fatty liver, in Kashmir. He said that sedentary lifestyles, the consumption of junk food, changes in dietary patterns towards fatty, salty and sugary foods, limited physical activity, stress and alcohol consumption are all contributing factors.

Dr Ismail, a doctor in south Kashmir, fast food consumption is found among both adults and children.

“Busy professionals, children and teenagers are often seen eating fast foods like pizzas and burgers. Children are addicted to chips, sugary drinks and frozen ready meals,” he said. “The shift from homemade meals to processed and convenient foods has significantly contributed to the burden of fatty liver disease in Kashmir.”

The doctors warned that fast food consumption exacerbates fatty liver, particularly in people who are obese or diabetic. “The disease’s prevalence is even higher among diabetics and obese persons, reaching 60-70 percent,” he said.

To address fatty liver disease, the doctors recommended adopting a healthy lifestyle, including maintaining a balanced diet, exercising regularly, controlling blood sugar levels, managing high cholesterol, avoiding medications that may affect the liver, minimising alcohol consumption and quitting smoking.

It is important to stay physically active, manage stress and avoid foods high in fat, salt and sugar to maintain liver health, they said.(KNO)

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