European Journal of Epidemiology

, Volume 21, Issue 1, pp 55–60 | Cite as

Is Inflammation a Causal Chain between Low Socioeconomic Status and Type 2 Diabetes? Results from the KORA Survey 2000

  • Wolfgang Rathmann
  • Burkhard Haastert
  • Guido Giani
  • Wolfgang Koenig
  • Armin Imhof
  • Christian Herder
  • Rolf Holle
  • Andreas Mielck
Diabetes Mellitus


Low socioeconomic status (SES) is associated with type 2 diabetes. Inflammatory markers like C-reactive protein (CRP) are predictive of diabetes. It is unclear, whether inflammation may be a mechanism linking low SES to type 2 diabetes. In the population-based KORA Survey 2000, 766 men and 710 women aged 55 to 74 years were randomly selected in the Augsburg region (Southern Germany). An index for SES was defined using education, occupation, and income. In women but not in men, increased CRP concentrations were found with lower SES (p<0.01). This significant trend was no longer observed after adjusting for BMI and waist circumference (p=0.23). Low SES was significantly associated with the age-adjusted odds of having type 2 diabetes both in men (OR; 95%CI: 1.35; 1.14–1.60) and in women (2.01; 1.37–2.96). The risk of having diabetes associated with low SES was only slightly changed after adjusting for CRP, which was itself significantly related to diabetes. In multivariate analyses, adjusting for age, obesity, physical activity, smoking, alcohol intake, and CRP, low SES yielded only a borderline statistical significance in women (p=0.07), whereas no significant association with diabetes remained in men (p=0.14). After CRP was dropped from the full model, there was no change in the OR obtained for low SES (men: 1.30; 0.92–1.83; women: 1.54; 0.97–2.45). Low SES was not related to prediabetes (IFG, IGT), whereas CRP was significantly associated with diabetes precursors. In conclusion, inflammation appears not to play a major role linking low SES and type 2 diabetes in the elderly population.


Inflammation Impaired glucose tolerance Socio-economic status Type 2 diabetes 



confidence interval


C reactive protein


Cooperative Health Research in the Augsburg Region


odds ratio


socio-economic status


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang Rathmann
    • 1
  • Burkhard Haastert
    • 1
  • Guido Giani
    • 1
  • Wolfgang Koenig
    • 2
  • Armin Imhof
    • 2
  • Christian Herder
    • 3
  • Rolf Holle
    • 4
  • Andreas Mielck
    • 4
  1. 1.Institute of Biometrics and Epidemiology, German Diabetes CenterLeibniz Institute at the Heinrich-Heine-UniversityDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.The University of Ulm Medical CenterUlmGermany
  3. 3.German Diabetes ClinicGerman Diabetes Center at Düsseldorf UniversityGermany
  4. 4.Institute of Health Economics and Health Care ManagementNational Research Center for Environment and HealthNeuherbergGermany

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