Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a clinical/biochemical condition associated with the metabolic syndrome. As the disease stems from excess calorie intake and lack of physical activity, the correction of unhealthy lifestyles is the background of any prevention and treatment strategy; drugs should remain a second-line treatment. Several studies have shown that weight loss and physical activity, the cornerstones of a healthy lifestyle, have a specific therapeutic role in NAFLD, preventing disease progression and reducing the burden of disease. Prescriptive diets have a limited long-term efficacy; after a short period, most patients resume their old habits and weight regain is the rule. Physical activity, usually in combination with diet, but also independent of weight loss, improves liver enzymes and reduces liver fat, with uncertain results on hepatic necroinflammation; however, making patients increase their physical activity is very difficult. Only a behavioral approach may give patients the practical instruments to achieve their eating and exercise goals, incorporate them into lifestyle, and maintain the results for a long period, thereby possibly guaranteeing long-term durability of change. Cognitive-behavior treatment should be provided to patients at risk of advanced liver disease, and this action should be coupled with prevention strategies at the population level. Only a synergistic approach and a global societal response might be effective in reducing the burden of advanced liver disease and premature death due to NAFLD/NASH (non-alcoholic steatohepatitis).

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