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J Occup Environ Med. 2020 Mar;62(3):194-201. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001781.

Occupational Differences in C-Reactive Protein Among Working-Age Adults in South Korea.

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Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health (Dr Kim, Dr Zaitsu, Dr Tsuno, Dr Li, Dr Jang, Dr Kawachi); Department of Public Health, Graduate School of Medicine, The University of Tokyo, Tokyo (Dr Zaitsu); School of Health Innovation, Kanagawa University of Human Services, Kanagawa (Dr Tsuno), Japan; Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders, Departments of Medicine and Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital (Dr Li), Boston, Massachusetts; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, University of Maryland School of Public Health, Maryland (Dr Lee); Red Cross College of Nursing, Chung-Ang University, Seoul, Republic of Korea (Dr Jang).



To examine the association between occupational class and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP) in Korean workers.


We used a nationally representative sample of Koreans (n = 2591) aged 19 to 65 years from the 2015 Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. The concentration of hsCRP (mg/L) was assessed by a high sensitivity immunoturbidimetric assay. Current occupation was categorized as: white-collar (managers/professionals), pink-collar (clerks/service/sales), blue-collar (craft/equipment/machine-assembling, agricultural/forestry/fishery, and elementary-level labor), or unemployed. Cross-sectional linear regression models adjusted for sociodemographic/work-related/health conditions and behaviors.


Compared with blue-collar workers, white-collar workers showed significantly higher levels of hsCRP (β = 0.16, 95% CI: 0.02, 0.30) after adjusting for all covariates, whereby the pattern was more pronounced among professionals. However, the association was not significant for unemployed and pink-collar workers.


Findings suggest that Korean white-collar workers, particularly professionals, have elevated levels of inflammation.

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