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J Psychosom Res. 2012 Sep;73(3):225-31. doi: 10.1016/j.jpsychores.2012.05.013. Epub 2012 Jul 4.

Poor self-rated health is significantly associated with elevated C-reactive protein levels in women, but not in men, in the Japanese general population.

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  • 1Department of Hygiene and Preventive Medicine, School of Medicine, Iwate Medical University, Yahaba, Japan.



Self-rated health (SRH) is associated with risk for mortality, but its biological basis is poorly understood. We examined the association between SRH and low-grade inflammation in a Japanese general population.


A total of 5142 men and 11,114 women aged 40 to 69years were enrolled. SRH was assessed by a single question and classified into four categories: good, rather good, neither good nor poor, and poor. Serum high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) levels were measured by the latex-enhanced immunonephelometric method. Elevated CRP was defined as hsCRP level of 1.0mg/L or higher. The association between SRH and elevated CRP was evaluated by using logistic regression with adjustment for age, socioeconomic status (job status, education and marital status), health-related behaviors (smoking status, drinking status, exercise habits and sleep duration), and cardiovascular risk factors (body mass index, systolic blood pressure, total- and HDL-cholesterol, HbA1c and prevalent stroke and/or myocardial infarction).


Compared to persons with good SRH, persons with poor SRH had significantly higher risk for elevated CRP: age-adjusted ORs (95% CIs) were 1.33 (1.01-1.76) in men and 1.66 (1.36-2.02) in women. The significant association remained even after adjustment for socioeconomic status, health-related behaviors and cardiovascular risk factors in women, whereas the significance disappeared in men.


Poor SRH is associated with low-grade inflammation in both sexes. In women, but not in men, the association is independent of potential confounders. These findings provide an insight into the biological background of SRH in a general population.

Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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