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New Study Finds Weekly Exercise Can Reduce Liver Fat in NAFLD Patients

Approximately 30% of people worldwide have nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If left untreated, it can progress to liver scarring (cirrhosis) and cancer.[0] Although there is no approved medication or definitive cure for this common affliction, research has revealed that physical activity can reduce liver fat, boost physical fitness, alter body composition, and increase the quality of life for those affected.

Now, a new meta-analysis of 14 randomized, controlled trials involving 551 subjects with NAFLD has revealed that 150 minutes of moderate to intense aerobic physical activity per week can significantly reduce liver fat. The findings, which were published in the American Journal of Gastroenterology, back the same amount of physical activity recommended by the American Gastroenterological Association and the European Association for the Study of the Liver.[1]

The research team, led by Jonathan Stine, a Penn State Cancer Institute researcher, found that 39 percent of patients prescribed greater than or equal to 750 metabolic equivalents of task per week (such as 150 minute of brisk walking) achieved significant responses compared to only 26 percent of those prescribed lesser amounts of exercise.[0]

“Exercise is a lifestyle modification, so the fact that it might match the ability of in-development therapeutics to achieve the same outcome is significant,” said Stine. It is recommended that clinicians counseling patients with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease advise them to partake in a certain amount of activity. An example of such a program could be brisk walking or light cycling for thirty minutes, five days a week.[2]

Stine added that more studies, including controlled clinical trials, are needed to validate the findings even more and to compare the impact of different exercise “doses.”[3] He concluded, “Having a target amount of physical activity to aim for will be useful for health care and exercise professionals to develop personalized approaches as they help patients modify their lifestyles and become more physically active.

0. “150 minutes of exercise per week reduces liver fat”, 10 Feb. 2023,

1. “150 minutes of aerobic exercise per week reduces liver fat, study finds” Medical Xpress, 8 Feb. 2023,

2. “Penn State College of Medicine Research Confirms Exercise as Treatment for Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease” PennWatch, 9 Feb. 2023,

3. “22 minutes of brisk walking a day could prevent fatty liver disease” Study Finds, 10 Feb. 2023,

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