Background: We investigated the association between low cardiorespiratory fitness and liver fat content (LFC) in the general population. Materials and methods: We evaluated data from 2151 adults (51.1% women) from two population-based cohorts of the Study of Health in Pomerania (SHIP-2 and SHIP-TREND-0). We analysed the cross-sectional associations of peak oxygen uptake (VO2peak ) with LFC, assessed by magnetic resonance imaging proton density fat fraction, as well as serum gamma-glutamyltransferase (GGT) and aminotransferase concentrations by multivariable regression models. Results: We observed significant inverse associations of VO2peak with LFC and serum GGT, but not with serum aminotransferase levels. Specifically, a 1 L/min lower VO2peak was associated with a 1.09% (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.45-1.73; P = .002) higher LFC and a 0.18 μkatal/L (95% CI: 0.09-0.26; P < .001) higher GGT levels. The adjusted odds ratio (OR) for the risk of prevalent hepatic steatosis (HS) by a 1 L/min decrease in VO2peak was 1.61 (95% CI: 1.22-2.13; P = .001). Compared to subjects with high VO2peak , obese and overweight individuals with low VO2peak had 1.78% (95% CI: 0.32-3.25; P = .017) and 0.94% (95% CI: 0.15-1.74; P = .021) higher mean LFC, respectively. Compared to those with high VO2peak , low VO2peak was independently associated with a higher risk of prevalent HS in the obese (adjusted-OR 2.29, 95% CI=1.48-3.56; P < .001) and overweight (adjusted OR 1.57, 95% CI=1.16-2.14; P = .04) groups. Conclusions: Lower VO2peak was significantly associated with greater LFC and higher serum GGT levels in a population-based cohort of adult individuals. Our results suggest that low VO2peak might be a risk factor for HS.
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