Origins of the “fire within”: correlates of inflammation in U.S. children aged 3-17
Jennifer Dowd, Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), CUNY Institute for Demographic Research
Anna Zajacova, University of Michigan
Allison Aiello, University of Michigan
Little is known about the factors associated with inflammation in U.S. children and whether differences in inflammation by socioeconomic factors emerge in childhood. This paper uses data from the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from years 1999-2004 to 1.) describe the distribution of C-reactive (CRP) protein in U.S. children ages 3-16 by age, gender, and race/ethnicity; and 2) examine the association between markers of household socioeconomic status, low birth weight, infections, household smoking, and body-mass index with high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of inflammation, in U.S. children aged 3-16. We find socioeconomic differences in CRP in U.S. children, and these differences are largely accounted for by differences in adiposity and recent illness. Mexican-American children have higher levels of CRP compared to both whites and blacks, but these differences are not easily explained by physical risk factors.