Junk food behind fatty liver epidemic in Kashmir: DAK

SRINAGAR — On World Liver Day, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday expressed pressing concern over surge in fatty liver disease which has reached to epidemic proportions in Kashmir valley.

“Junk food is causing spike in fatty liver cases in the valley,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.

Dr Hassan said junk food has become routine part of people’s lives and has largely replaced homemade meals. Fast food is the quickest meal not just for busy professionals, but there is a rising trend of fast food among children and teenagers. They are often seen eating fast foods like pizzas and burgers. Children are addicted to chips, sugary drinks and frozen ready meals.

“This change in dietary habits from homemade to processed and convenient foods is the primary factor contributing to enormous burden of fatty liver in Kashmir,” he said.

The DAK President said according to a new study from the University of Southern California’s Keck school of Medicine published in clinical gastroenterology and hepatology, junk food has been found to cause fatty liver disease.

“If you are obese or diabetic, fast food has even more negative impact on the liver and can lead to even higher amounts of fat in the liver,” he said.

Dr Nisar said one in three persons in Kashmir have fatty liver and young people are mostly hit.

The prevalence of disease is 60-70% among diabetics and obese individuals.

He said non-alcoholic fatty liver disease is a life threatening disease in which fat builds up in the liver. It is the commonest cause of cirrhosis or scarring of liver which can cause liver failure and even cancer.

People with fatty liver have a greater chance of developing cardiovascular disease.

“In order to prevent this disease, we need to go back to our culture of taking homemade meals and avoid junk food. We need to be on roads and gyms rather than in luxury cars,” he said.

“Every year on April 19 World Liver Day is observed to spread awareness about the importance of liver health and educate people on how to maintain a healthy liver,” he added.