Background: The association between inflammation and obesity is well documented; however, there is little evidence linking physiological markers of inflammation and psychosocial factors such as body image. This study examined the relation between body image and C-reactive protein (CRP).
Methods: Data were available for 1503 adolescents aged 13 and 16 years in a province-wide survey of a representative sample of youth in Quebec, Canada. Participants completed questionnaires assessing body image indicators of social pressures to lose weight and personal body shape discrepancies, provided a fasting blood sample for CRP, and had height and weight measured.
Results: In separate multivariable logistic regression models for girls and boys, body shape discrepancy was positively associated with CRP (boys: OR=2.6, 95% CI=1.4-4.8; girls: OR=2.2, 95% CI=1.2-4.3) independent of body mass index, puberty status and socio-demographic variables.
Conclusions: Adverse biological markers of cardiometabolic risk and negative body image are associated in adolescence. These findings suggest that, in addition to the well-known psychological problems, negative body image perceptions may also threaten adolescent's physical health.