OBJECTIVES: This study aims to examine the association between self-rated health (SRH) and levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) among adults aged 45 to 101 years old in rural areas of China, and to explore the role of education in the association.
DESIGN: Cross-sectional study.
SETTING: The study population was derived from two databases in China: Nanping project (NP) and the China Health and Retirement Longitudinal Study (CHARLS).
PARTICIPANTS: There were 646 participants from a rural area of Nanping (NP) and 8555 rural participants from a national representative sample of China (CHARLS).
METHODS: CRP was measured using a high sensitivity sandwich enzyme immunoassay in the NP and immunoturbidimetric assay in the CHARLS. SRH was assessed by SRH questionnaires and categorised into good and poor. Education was measured by the maximum years of schooling and dichotomised into illiterate and literate. Multivariate linear regression models were used to study the associations.
RESULTS: Compared to people with good SRH, those with poor SRH had higher levels of CRP in NP (β=0.16, 95% CI -0.02 to 0.34) and in CHARLS (β=0.07, 95% CI 0.02 to 0.11) after adjusting for potential confounders. Similar findings were observed in the pooled population (β=0.08, 95% CI 0.03 to 0.12), especially in men (β=0.13, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.20) and in literate people (β=0.12, 95% CI 0.06 to 0.18).
CONCLUSION: Poor SRH may be a predicator of elevated levels of CRP among middle-aged and older people in rural areas, especially in men and literate people.