Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is often caused by lifestyle-related factors. If you prevent NAFLD, you prevent its more advanced stage, non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). Below are some tips on how to minimize your risk of getting NAFLD.

Maintain a healthy weight. Body mass index (BMI) is an indicator of healthy weight. Obesity is defined as having a BMI greater than 25; morbid obesity is having a BMI greater than 35. To calculate BMI: (1) multiply your weight (in pounds) by 703, (2) multiply your height in inches by itself, then divide the answer in (1) by the answer in (2). You can find BMI calculators and other fitness tools and tips at www.healthfinder.gov.

Eat a healthy diet. Observe a good balance of the basic food groups, including whole grains, lean proteins, dairy, fruits, vegetables and fats. Keep saturated fats in your diet to a minimum. Go easy on sodium and sugar. Click here for more other nutrition tips.

Exercise regularly. Health.gov’s Physical Activity Guidelines for Adults recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity (e.g., brisk walking) every week and weight training/muscle-strengthening activities on two or more days a week that work all major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms).

Note: Exercising in short intervals, such as 10 minutes, several times daily, is as effective as exercising for larger stretches of time.

Limit alcohol intake. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans defines moderate alcohol consumption as one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. The size of standard drinks depends on what you are drinking:

  • 12 ounces of regular beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits

Use medicines and supplements exactly as prescribed. Prescription and over-the-counter medicines have the potential to do harm if not taken correctly. The same is true for herbs and dietary supplements.

Get regular, good-quality sleep. Our bodies need sleep. Insufficient sleep is associated with overeating and weight gain. A good night’s sleep helps people think and cope better. Sleep is restorative and helps us make better health decisions.

Last Reviewed: January 30, 2019