Both low birth weight, an indicator of intrauterine growth restriction, and low grade systemic inflammation depicted by high sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) have emerged as independent predictors of cardiovascular (CV) disease and type 2 diabetes. However, information linking low birth weight and hs-CRP in a biracial (black/white) population is scant. We assessed a cohort of 776 black and white subjects (28% black, 43% male) aged 24-43 years (mean 36.1 years) enrolled in the Bogalusa Heart Study with regard to birth weight and gestational age data were retrieved from Louisiana State Public Health Office.
Black subjects had significantly lower birth weight than white subjects (3.145 kg vs 3.441 kg, p < 0.0001) and higher hs-CRP level (3.29 mg/L vs 2.57 mg/L, p = 0.011). After adjusting for sex, age, body mass index (BMI), smoking status and race (for total sample), the hs-CRP level decreased across quartiles of increasing birth weight in white subjects (p = 0.001) and the combined sample (p = 0.002). Adjusting for sex, age, BMI, smoking status and race for the total sample in a multivariate regression model, low birth weight was retained as an independent predictor variable for higher hs-CRP levels in white subjects (p = 0.004) and the total sample (p = 0.007). Conversely, the area under the receiver operative curve (c statistic) analysis adjusted for race, sex, age, smoking status and BMI yielded a value of 0.777 with regard to the discriminating value of hs-CRP for predicting low birth weight.