The association between education level and chronic liver disease of any etiology

Published:January 22, 2020DOI:


      • We studied the link of education with the etiology and stage of chronic hepatitis.
      • 11,107 subjects with chronic hepatitis were prospectively recruited.
      • A low educational level was associated with alcohol etiology and HCV etiology.
      • A low educational level was associated with the presence of cirrhosis.



      The potential link between educational level and chronic liver diseases (CLD) were explored using the mortality records of liver cirrhosis, which lack accuracy and are unable to identify the different etiological factors of liver cirrhosis. Information on the association of low educational level with the severity of CLD is lacking.


      To evaluate the potential association linking education level to etiology and clinical stage of CLD cases.


      Consecutive enrolment of 11,107 subjects with CLD aged≥18 years prospectively recruited in two national surveys in 2001 and 2014 at one of the participating Italian liver units throughout the country. Subjects were pooled in two groups: low education level (less than high school) and high education level (completed high school or beyond). The association of demographic, etiological, and clinical stage of subjects with educational level was assessed using logistic regression analysis. In the analysis low educational level was the outcome variable.


      A total of 11,107 subjects born in Italy (mean age 55.5 years, sex ratio 1.5) were evaluated. Multiple logistic regression analysis shows that chronic HCV infection (O.R.1,38:95%,C.I.1.23-1.55), risky alcohol intake (O.R.1.96;95%,C.I.1.73-2.21) and liver cirrhosis (O.R.1.65;95%,C.I.1.46-1.85) all resulted independently associated with less than a completed high school education. HBV infection resulted independently associated with high education level (O.R.0.74;95%,C.I.0.64-0.86), reflecting changes in HBV modes of transmission in recent decades. No association was found with CLD related to non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (O.R.1.03;95%, C.I.0.81-1.30).


      These findings show an independent association linking education level with viruses and alcohol-related CLD. Low educational level is associated with the severity of CLD.


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