Number of children is associated with plasma CRP levels.

BACKGROUND: C-reactive protein (CRP) is an acute-phase serum protein produced by the liver. High plasma levels of CRP have been associated primarily with infection, but elevated CRP levels have also been found to be associated with more than one hundred conditions and factors, including social and economic factors.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: To evaluate the possible association between individuals' number of children and plasma levels of C-reactive protein, we studied a representative population of 2,426 adults. CRP was analyzed using the high sensitivity method (hsCRP). Individuals were divided into five groups of zero, one, two, three and four and more children.

RESULTS: We found that individuals with more children had significantly higher levels of plasma hsCRP than individuals without children or than individuals with a low number of children (p for trend <0.001). This association could reflect the known associations between CRP and higher economic stress, exhaustion, episodic stress and chronic stress.

CONCLUSIONS: We found significantly elevated levels of plasma CRP in individuals with more children than in individuals without children or with a low number of children.