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Pathogenic and Obesogenic Factors Associated with Inflammation in Chinese Children, Adolescents and Adults


Thompson, Amanda L.; Houck, Kelly M.; Adair, Linda S.; Gordon-Larsen, Penny; Du, Shufa; Zhang, Bing; & Popkin, Barry M. (2014). Pathogenic and Obesogenic Factors Associated with Inflammation in Chinese Children, Adolescents and Adults. American Journal of Human Biology, 26(1), 18-28. PMCID: PMC3932143


OBJECTIVES: Influenced by pathogen exposure and obesity, inflammation provides a critical biological pathway linking changing environments to the development of cardiometabolic disease. This study tests the relative contribution of obesogenic and pathogenic factors to moderate and acute CRP elevations in Chinese children, adolescents and adults.
METHODS: Data come from 8795 participants in the China Health and Nutrition Study. Age-stratified multinomial logistic models were used to test the association between illness history, pathogenic exposures, adiposity, health behaviors and moderate (1-10 mg/L in children and 3-10 mg/L in adults) and acute (>10mg/L) CRP elevations, controlling for age, sex and clustering by household. Backward model selection was used to assess which pathogenic and obesogenic predictors remained independently associated with moderate and acute CRP levels when accounting for simultaneous exposures.
RESULTS: Overweight was the only significant independent risk factor for moderate inflammation in children (RRR 2.10, 95%CI 1.13-3.89). History of infectious (RRR 1.28, 95%CI 1.08-1.52) and non-communicable (RRR 1.37, 95%CI 1.12-1.69) disease, overweight (RRR 1.66, 95%CI 1.45-1.89) and high waist circumference (RRR 1.63, 95%CI 1.42-1.87) were independently associated with a greater likelihood of moderate inflammation in adults while history of infectious disease (RRR 1.87, 95%CI 1.35-2.56) and overweight (RRR 1.40, 95%CI 1.04-1.88) were independently associated with acute inflammation. Environmental pathogenicity was associated with a reduced likelihood of moderate inflammation, but a greater likelihood of acute inflammation in adults.
CONCLUSIONS: These results highlight the importance of both obesogenic and pathogenic factors in shaping inflammation risk in societies undergoing nutritional and epidemiological transitions.


Reference Type

Journal Article

Year Published


Journal Title

American Journal of Human Biology


Thompson, Amanda L.
Houck, Kelly M.
Adair, Linda S.
Gordon-Larsen, Penny
Du, Shufa
Zhang, Bing
Popkin, Barry M.