A photo of Stavra Xanthakos.

Director, Steatohepatitis Center

Medical Director, Surgical Weight Loss Program for Teens

Associate Director, Gastroenterology Fellowship Program

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics



Board Certified

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My Biography & Research


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) is a condition in which liver cells have a built-up of extra lipids or fats. It’s the most common liver disease in children, and more research into NAFLD is essential.

My research and patient care specializations are in fatty liver disease, pediatric gastroenterology and pediatric obesity. In my research, my colleagues and I attempt to solve the problems associated with childhood obesity and fatty liver disease. Specifically, we are looking to uncover better prevention and treatment strategies for pediatric obesity and fatty liver disease, the leading cause of chronic liver disease across the globe.

As a gastroenterologist, I am most interested in pursuing research related to pediatric obesity and clinical trials for fatty liver disease and obesity — especially advanced prevention and treatment approaches. In clinical studies on fatty liver disease, my colleagues and I also aim to identify genetic and environmental factors that can influence outcomes. We are also testing and validating noninvasive biomarkers to improve diagnosis and treatment approaches.

I recognize the enormous negative impact of the obesity epidemic on children's health throughout the United States and the world. There is a critical need to identify better prevention and treatment strategies. I enjoy working with children and their families and helping children lead longer, healthier lives. My parents were exceptional and dedicated doctors (a pediatrician and a general surgeon). Their example inspired and encouraged me to become a physician.

At the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, we have a large multidisciplinary program for children and youths with nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Through this program, my colleagues and I have successfully participated in several clinical trials. We continue to offer children with NAFLD the opportunity to join research studies and clinical trials.

Our Steatohepatitis Center Team received the 2015 Faculty award for superior clinical and research accomplishments. I was nominated by my peers as a "Top Doctor" in Cincinnati Magazine and Cincy magazine from 2015-2019. In addition, I have given numerous presentations across the country on childhood obesity and NAFLD.

Additional Languages

German, Greek

Clinical Interests

Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis; pediatric obesity; bariatric surgery; nutrition

Research Interests

Prevalence, determinants and outcome of pediatric obesity-related liver disease (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease and steatohepatitis); bariatric medicine; pediatric obesity and nutrition

Academic Affiliation

Associate Professor, UC Department of Pediatrics

Clinical Divisions

Gastroenterology GI, Steatohepatitis, Surgical Weight Loss, Autoimmune Liver Disease

Research Divisions

Gastroenterology Hepatology and Nutrition

Blog Posts

Many Teens Have Low Iron, B12 Levels Years After Bariatric Surgery

Diabetes and Obesity

Many Teens Have Low Iron, B12 Levels Years After Bariatric Surgery

Stavra A. Xanthakos, MD, MS11/8/2019

Bariatric Surgery Improves Outcomes for Obese Teens

Diabetes and Obesity

Bariatric Surgery Improves Outcomes for Obese Teens

Stavra A. Xanthakos, MD, MS6/28/2019

My Locations

My Education

MD: Duke University, Durham, NC, 1997.

MS: Molecular Epidemiology, University of Cincinnati, 2006.

Residency: Pediatrics, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH, 1997-2000.

Chief Residency: Cincinnati Children's, Cincinnati, OH, 2000-01.

Clinical Fellowship: Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition, Cincinnati Children's, Cincinnati, OH, 2001-2004.

Research Fellowship: Molecular Epidemiology in Children's Environmental Health, Masters of Science, 2002-2005.

Certification: Pediatrics, 2008; Pediatric Gastroenterology, 2005.

My Publications

Selected Publication

Nutritional Risks in Adolescents After Bariatric Surgery. Xanthakos, SA; Khoury, JC; Inge, TH; Jenkins, TM; Modi, AC; Michalsky, MP; Chen, MK; Courcoulas, AP; Harmon, CM; Brandt, ML; et al. Clinical Gastroenterology and Hepatology. 2020; 18:1070-1081.e5.

Five-Year Outcomes of Gastric Bypass in Adolescents as Compared with Adults. Inge, TH; Courcoulas, AP; Jenkins, TM; Michalsky, MP; Brandt, ML; Xanthakos, SA; Dixon, JB; Harmon, CM; Chen, MK; Xie, C; et al. New England Journal of Medicine. 2019; 380:2136-2145.

Assessment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease Progression in Children Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Mouzaki, M; Trout, AT; Arce-Clachar, AC; Bramlage, K; Kuhnell, P; Dillman, JR; Xanthakos, S. Journal of Pediatrics. 2018; 201:86-92.

Added Sugars and Cardiovascular Disease Risk in Children: A Scientific Statement From the American Heart Association. Vos, MB; Kaar, JL; Welsh, JA; Van Horn, LV; Feig, DI; Anderson, CA M; Patel, MJ; Cruz Munos, J; Krebs, NF; Xanthakos, SA; et al. Circulation. 2017; 135:e1017-e1034.

NASPGHAN Clinical Practice Guideline for the Diagnosis and Treatment of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Children: Recommendations from the Expert Committee on NAFLD (ECON) and the North American Society of Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition (NASPGHAN). Vos, MB; Abrams, SH; Barlow, SE; Caprio, S; Daniels, SR; Kohli, R; Mouzaki, M; Sathya, P; Schwimmer, JB; Sundaram, SS; et al. Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition. 2017; 64:319-334.

In Children With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease, Cysteamine Bitartrate Delayed Release Improves Liver Enzymes but Does Not Reduce Disease Activity Scores. Schwimmer, JB; Lavine, JE; Wilson, LA; Neuschwander-Tetri, BA; Xanthakos, SA; Kohli, R; Barlow, SE; Vos, MB; Karpen, SJ; Molleston, JP; et al. Gastroenterology. 2016; 151:1141-1154.e9.

Prevalence of Prediabetes and Type 2 Diabetes in Children With Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease. Newton, KP; Hou, J; Crimmins, NA; Lavine, JE; Barlow, SE; Xanthakos, SA; Africa, J; Behling, C; Donithan, M; Clark, JM; et al. JAMA Pediatrics. 2016; 170.

Weight Loss and Health Status 3 Years after Bariatric Surgery in Adolescents. Inge, TH; Courcoulas, AP; Jenkins, TM; Michalsky, MP; Helmrath, MA; Brandt, ML; Harmon, CM; Zeller, MH; Chen, MK; Xanthakos, SA; et al. New England Journal of Medicine. 2016; 374:113-123.

High Prevalence of Nonalcoholic Fatty Liver Disease in Adolescents Undergoing Bariatric Surgery. Xanthakos, SA; Jenkins, TM; Kleiner, DE; Boyce, TW; Mourya, R; Karns, R; Brandt, ML; Harmon, CM; Helmrath, MA; Michalsky, MP; et al. Gastroenterology. 2015; 149:623-34.e8.

Baseline BMI is a strong predictor of nadir BMI after adolescent gastric bypass. Inge, TH; Jenkins, TM; Zeller, M; Dolan, L; Daniels, SR; Garcia, VF; Brandt, ML; Bean, J; Gamm, K; Xanthakos, SA. Journal of Pediatrics. 2010; 156:103-108.e1.