NAFLD was determined based on the result of a hepatic ultrasound examination following the exclusion of alcohol consumption and viral or autoimmune liver disease. Hepatic ultrasonography (US; Acuson Sequoia 512, Siemens, Mountain View, CA, USA) was carried out by experienced ultrasonographers. The ultrasonographers were blinded to study design and clinical data. The criteria for the ultrasonic diagnosis of fatty liver were based on those recommended by the Chinese Liver Disease Association [16].

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