OBJECTIVE: Ectopic fat depostion in youth with obesity is associated with an increased cardiovascular disease risk. The aim of this meta-analysis was to summarize the evidence for the use of diet and/or exercise on ectopic adiposity in this population.
METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed according to the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-analysis statement. Clinical trials that assessed ectopic fat deposition and included study arms with diet and/or exercise were searched in PubMed, PEDro and the Cochrane database.
RESULTS: Hepatic fat content and intramyocellular lipid content were described in nine studies and three studies, respectively. Most studies included teenagers, and study duration ranged between 3 and 12 months without follow-up. Using random-effects weights, the standardized mean difference of the change in hepatic adiposity (totalling 320 subjects) was -0.54 Hedges' g (95% confidence interval: -0.69 to -0.38 with p < 0.0001). By re-expressing this effect size, it is seen that diet and/or exercise results in an absolute reduction of intrahepatic lipid with 2%, which accords with a relative reduction up to 70%. Although there were significant ameliorations of insulin sensitivity, no significant changes in intramyocellular lipid were observed.
CONCLUSIONS: This meta-analysis showed that diet and/or exercise is effective to reduce hepatic adiposity in youth with obesity. Copyright © 2017 World Obesity Federation.