Objective: Perceived weight discrimination has been linked to health outcomes, including risk of obesity. Less is known about how discrimination is associated with intermediate physiological markers of health, such as systemic inflammation. This research examined the association between weight discrimination and C-reactive protein (CRP) and whether it varied by participants' body mass index (BMI).
Methods: Cross-sectional design using data from the Health and Retirement Study. Among participants who were overweight or obese (N = 7,394), regression analysis was used to test for an association between weight discrimination and CRP and whether this association was moderated by BMI. Similar associations among seven other attributions for discrimination were tested.
Results: The association between weight discrimination and CRP varied as a function of BMI: At BMI between the thresholds for overweight and obesity (BMI ∼25-30), weight discrimination was associated with higher circulating levels of CRP; there was no association between weight discrimination and CRP as BMI approached Class 3 obesity (BMI ∼40). A similar pattern emerged for discrimination based on a physical disability, but not for the other attributions for discrimination (e.g., race, age).
Conclusions: Weight discrimination is associated with higher circulating CRP, an association that is moderated by BMI.
© 2014 The Obesity Society.