Childhood meat eating and inflammatory markers: The Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study

Schooling, C. M.; Jiang, C. Q.; Lam, T. H.; Zhang, W. S.; Cheng, K. K.; Leung, G. M.
January 2011
BMC Public Health;2011 Supplement 4, Vol. 11 Issue Suppl 4, p345
Academic Journal
Background: We hypothesized that socio-economic development could, via nutritionally driven levels of pubertal sex-steroids, promote a pro-inflammatory state among men but not women in developing countries. We tested this hypothesis, using recalled childhood meat eating as a proxy for childhood nutrition, in southern China. Methods: We used multivariable linear regression in the Guangzhou Biobank Cohort Study phase 3 (2006-8) to examine the adjusted associations of recalled childhood meat eating, <1/week (n = 5,023), about once per week (n = 3,592) and almost daily (n = 1,252), with white blood cell count and its differentials among older (=50 years) men (n = 2,498) and women (n = 7,369). Results: Adjusted for age, childhood socio-economic position, education and smoking, childhood meat eating had sex-specific associations with white blood cell count and lymphocyte count, but not granulocyte count. Men with childhood meat eating almost daily compared to <1/week had higher white blood cell count (0.33 109/L, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.10 to 0.56) and higher lymphocyte count (0.16 109/L, 95% CI 0.07 to 0.25). Adjustment for obesity slightly attenuated these associations. Conclusion: If confirmed, this hypothesis implies that economic development and the associated improvements in nutrition at puberty may be less beneficial among men than women; consistent with the widening sex differentials in life expectancy with economic development.


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