Purpose: Weight gain is an important risk factor for the development of the metabolic syndrome, and inflammatory mediators are strongly associated with this syndrome. Our aim was to investigate whether inflammation predicts the development of weight gain in populations.
Research methods and procedures: We investigated selected markers of inflammation in the prediction of weight gain over an approximately 3-year period in a biethnic cohort of 13,017 men and women, 45 to 64 years of age, using multiple linear and logistic regression modeling.
Results: In adjusted models, those in the highest quartile of fibrinogen gained, during the first 3 years of follow-up, an estimated 0.23 kg/year more than those in the lowest quartile (p < 0.001). Adjusted odds of a large (greater than the 90th percentile) weight gain for those in the highest quartile of fibrinogen were 1.65 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38 to 1.97) times those in the lowest quartile. Similarly adjusted odds ratios for a large weight gain for those with high levels of white blood cell count, factor VIII, and von Willebrand factor were 1.38 (1.14 to 1.67), 1.28 (1.08 to 1.53), and 1.28 (1.08 to 1.51), respectively.
Discussion: Fibrinogen and other putative markers of inflammation predict weight gain in middle-aged adults. Given the known links between the inflammatory response and intermediary metabolism and the methodological strengths of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) cohort, these findings, though without immediate clinical applicability, suggest that inflammatory processes play a role in the development of the metabolic syndrome and cardiovascular disease in part through stimulation of weight gain.