Relative contribution of health-related behaviours and chronic diseases to the socioeconomic patterning of low-grade inflammation

Marialaura Bonaccio, Augusto Di Castelnuovo, George Pounis, Amalia De Curtis, Simona Costanzo, Mariarosaria Persichillo, Chiara Cerletti, Maria Benedetta Donati, Giovanni de Gaetano, Licia Iacoviello, behalf of the Moli-sani Study Investigators On behalf of the Moli-sani Study Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: To test the association of low-grade inflammation with socioeconomic status (SES) and determine the relative contribution of prevalent chronic diseases and health-related behaviours in explaining such association. Methods: Cross-sectional analysis on 19,867 subjects (age ≥35, 48.1% men) recruited within the Moli-sani study from 2005 to 2010 (Italy). A score of low-grade inflammation, including platelet and leukocyte counts, the granulocyte-to-lymphocyte ratio, and C-reactive protein was applied. SES was measured by education, household income, and occupational social class. Results: Low SES was associated with elevated levels of low-grade inflammation. Health behaviours (including adiposity, smoking, physical activity, and Mediterranean diet adherence) explained 53.5, 53.9, and 84.9% of the association between social class, income, and education with low-grade inflammation, respectively. Adiposity and body mass index showed a prominent role, while prevalent chronic diseases and conditions only marginally attenuated SES inequalities in inflammation. Conclusions: Low-grade inflammation was socioeconomically patterned in a large Mediterranean population. Potentially modifiable behavioural factors explained the greatest part of this association with a leading contribution of adiposity, body mass index, and physical activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)551-562
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Journal of Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2017


  • Chronic diseases
  • Health-related behaviours
  • Low-grade inflammation
  • Moli-sani study
  • Socioeconomic status

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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