Britain’s obesity crisis means one in five young adults now have a potentially harmful liver condition.
Junk food and a lack of exercise have been blamed for people in their twenties suffering from non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
A study of more than 4,000 young adults found more than 20 per cent are walking around with dangerous levels of fat in their liver.
This gives them twice the risk of suffering a cardiac event such as a heart attack, and in extreme cases can lead to liver cancer or the need for a liver transplant.
Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease most often affects people over the age of 50 and young people are not routinely scanned to look for fat in their liver.
But the latest findings suggest the condition may be affecting people much younger than experts realised.
Dr Kushala Abeysekera, who performed the analysis from the University of Bristol, said: ‘These results are a manifestation of the obesity crisis in the UK and while the majority of people will not see the disease progress, a small proportion are at greater risk of advanced liver disease.