Page last updated:August 20, 2013
Lifestyle factors and inflammation: associations by body mass index

Authors of a paper examining the associations of lifestyle factors and inflammation state  that ‘low-grade chronic inflammation has been associated with risk of several chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease and several cancers, although its exact role in the etiology of these diseases is uncertain. It is therefore important to understand how one may reduce inflammation, as it is possible that reducing inflammation may represent a feasible disease-prevention strategy. Several modifiable factors have been associated with reduced inflammation, including: increased dietary fibre intake, decreased saturated fat intake, increased physical activity, not smoking, moderate alcohol consumption and use of certain supplements and drugs: glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, vitamin E, statins, and aspirin‘.

To study whether these associations differ by body mass index (BMI), the study used data on 9,895 adults included in the 1999-2004 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). Survey-weighted linear regression was used to evaluate the associations between modifiable factors and serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) concentrations across the following groups: underweight/normal weight (BMI<25 kg/m(2)), overweight (25-<30 kg/m(2)) and obese (30+ kg/m(2)).

While several factors were significantly associated with decreased hsCRP among the normal weight or overweight groups (increased fiber intake, lower saturated fat intake, physical activity, not smoking, and use of chondroitin, fish oil and statins), only increasing dietary fiber intake and moderate alcohol consumption were associated with reduced hsCRP among the obese. These results suggest that posited anti-inflammatory drugs and behaviours may be less strongly associated with inflammation among the obese than among lower weight persons.

Source: Lifestyle factors and inflammation: associations by body mass index. Kantor ED, Lampe JW, Kratz M, White E. PLOS ONE Open access.


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