A new study related to treatment options for people with fatty liver disease highlights an opportunity for fitness professionals who want to train those with “medical fitness” conditions. Fat in the liver, an organ involved with digestion, blood clotting and energy production, can lead to metabolic-associated fatty liver disease (MAFLD), which is often present among people with type 2 diabetes and obesity. MAFLD is a leading cause of chronic liver disease globally. Trinity College Dublin researchers in Ireland found that while weight loss has formerly been a target of medical treatment, exercise training alone, without significant weight loss, can reduce liver fat among patients with MAFLD.

“The benefits of exercise training on both liver and cardiometabolic outcomes for these patients is very clear,” said lead study author Philip O’Gorman, PhD, Department of Physiotherapy. “There is an urgent unmet need to enable patients to continually engage in exercise therapy in the community setting.”

The study is published in Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics (2020; 52 [8], 1387–98).