Association of inflammatory markers with socioeconomic status

Annemarie Koster, Hans Bosma, Brenda W.J.H. Penninx, Anne B. Newman, Tamara B. Harris, Jacques Th M. Van Eijk, Gertrudis I.J.M. Kempen, Eleanor M. Simonsick, Karen C. Johnson, Ronica N. Rooks, Hilsa N. Ayonayon, Susan M. Rubin, Stephen B. Kritchevsky

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130 Citations (Scopus)


Background. This study examines the association between socioeconomic status (SES) and inflammatory markers in well-functioning older adults and seeks to determine whether any association remains after adjusting for biomedical and behavioral factors typically related to elevated serum levels of inflammatory markers. Methods. Data were obtained from 3044 men and women, aged 70-79 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and Memphis, Tennessee participating in the Health, Aging and Body Composition study. Three indicators of SES were used: education, income, and ownership of financial assets. Serum levels of interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-α were measured. Results. Low SES was associated with significantly elevated levels of interleukin-6, C-reactive protein, and tumor necrosis factor-α compared to high SES. Behavioral factors (including smoking, drinking, obesity) explained a substantial part of the inverse association between SES and inflammatory markers. Adjustment for prevalent diseases (including heart diseases, lung disease, and diabetes) associated with inflammation explained less of the association. Conclusions. This study suggests that interventions to improve health behaviors, even in old age and especially in low SES groups, may be useful in reducing risks associated with inflammation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-290
Number of pages7
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series A Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2006

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