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Social Determinants of Fatty Liver Disease and its Racial/Ethnic Disparities: The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis


Person receiving a liver exam


Mortality from chronic liver disease is a pivotal contributor to the recent decline in life expectancy in the US. This project is poised to provide robust new evidence about pathways between social determinants as well as the physical and social environments of communities and fatty liver disease (FLD) risk and has the potential of elucidating direct areas for policy or clinical intervention. It will also identify underlying structural determinants of excess risk among low SES and ethnic minority populations.

Research Methods

The team will conduct a series of longitudinal analyses, leveraging individual-level and neighborhood-level data of a major ongoing cohort study, the Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA). The goal of yielding information essential for setting priorities informing prevention efforts will be achieved by observing changes in subclinical markers of fatty liver disease and characterizing racial and ethnic disparities in FLD incidence. The team will also examine how these disparities could be associated with individual-level socioeconomic position (SEP) and psychosocial stressors, changes in risk behaviors, and community-level social and physical features. Additionally, the team will examine the role of community-level social and physical features in magnifying individual-level genetic vulnerability by testing gene-by-environment interactions in the incidence of FLD between genetic variants and contextual factors.


Research Team:


Funding provided by the National Institutes of Health National Institute of Diabetes And Digestive And Kidney Diseases.