OBJECTIVE - The hypothesis that earlier menarche is associated with higher non alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and ectopic adiposity, independent of young adult body mass index (BMI), was tested.
METHODS - The data from 1,214 black and white women in the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study who reliably reported menarche age at exam years 0 and 2, who had multiple-slice abdominal computed tomography (CT) at exam year 25, and who had no known liver disease or secondary causes of steatosis were included. Women were aged 18-30 at year 0 and 43-55 at year 25. Liver attenuation, visceral adipose tissue (VAT), subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT), and inter-muscular adipose tissue (IMAT) were derived from CT. NAFLD was defined as liver attenuation less than 51 Hounsfield units.
RESULTS - One-year earlier menarche was associated with higher NAFLD (RR = 1.15; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.24), and VAT (6.7 cc; 95% CI: 4.3, 9.0 cc), IMAT (1.0 cc; 95% CI: 0.6, 1.4 cc), and SAT (19.6 cc; 95% CI: 13.2, 26.0 cc) after confounder adjustment. Associations remained significant (P < 0.05) after further adjustment for year 0 BMI. Only VAT remained significant (P = 0.047) after adjustment for weight gain between years 0 and 25.
CONCLUSIONS - Earlier menarche is positively associated with NAFLD and ectopic fat independent of confounders and young adult BMI. Weight gain between young adulthood and midlife explains some of this association.
© 2014 The Obesity Society.