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PLoS One. 2013 Jul 2;8(7):e67833. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0067833. Print 2013.

Lifestyle factors and inflammation: associations by body mass index.

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Public Health Sciences Division, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Washington, United States of America.


Chronic inflammation, which is associated with obesity, may play a role in the etiology of several diseases. Thus, reducing inflammation may offer a disease-prevention strategy, particularly among the obese. Several modifiable factors have been associated with inflammation, including: dietary fiber intake, saturated fat intake, physical activity, smoking, alcohol, and use of certain supplements and medications (glucosamine, chondroitin, fish oil, vitamin E, statins and aspirin). To study whether these associations differ by body mass index (BMI), we 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. Effect modification by BMI was statistically significant for the saturated fat-hsCRP and smoking-hsCRP associations. These results suggest that posited anti-inflammatory drugs and behaviors may be less strongly associated with inflammation among the obese than among lower weight persons.

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