Clin Mol Hepatol.  2020 Apr;26(2):209-215. 10.3350/cmh.2019.0065.

Trends in the prevalence of chronic liver disease in theKorean adult population, 1998–2017

  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Inje University Haeundae Paik-Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 2Department of Surgery, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, Hallym University College of Medicine, Chuncheon, Korea
  • 4Department of Emergency Medicine, Inje University Haeundae Paik- Hospital, Inje University College of Medicine, Busan, Korea
  • 5Institute for Liver and Digestive Diseases, Hallym University, Chuncheon, Korea


Data on the trends in the prevalence of chronic liver disease (CLD) in Korea are scarce. This study aimed to evaluate whether the CLD prevalence changed between 1998–2001 and 2016–2017.
Data were extracted from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (1998–2001 to 2016– 2017; n=25,893). Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) was defined as a hepatic steatosis index >36 in the absence of any other evidence of CLD. The definition of alcohol-related liver disease (ALD) was excessive alcohol consumption (≥210 g/week for men and ≥140 g/week for women) and an ALD/NAFLD index >0.
The prevalence of NAFLD increased from 18.6% (95% confidence interval [CI], 17.8–19.5%) in 1998–2001 to 21.5% (95% CI, 20.6–22.6%) in 2016–2017. During the same time period, increases were observed in the prevalence of obesity (27.0 vs. 35.1%), central obesity (29.4 vs. 36.0%), diabetes (7.5 vs. 10.6%), and excessive drinking (7.3 vs. 10.5%). ALD prevalence also increased from 3.8% (95% CI, 3.4–4.2%) to 7.0% (95% CI, 6.4–7.6%). In contrast, chronic hepatitis B decreased from 5.1% (95% CI, 4.6–5.5%) to 3.4% (95% CI, 3.0–3.8%). The prevalence of chronic hepatitis C was approximately 0.3% in 2016–2017.
The prevalence of NAFLD and ALD increase among Korean adults. Our results suggest potential targets for interventions to reduce the future burden of CLD.


Alcoholic-related liver disease; Hepatitis B, Chronic; Hepatitis C, Chronic; Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease; Prevalence
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