Obesity as an inflammatory condition

  • S Slabbert
  • H J de Ridder
  • C Underhay
  • S Kruger
Keywords: obesity, C-reactive protein, Interleukin-6, inflammation, physical activity


The prevalence of obesity has increased dramatically in the past decade. This foreshadows an increase in the rates of morbidity and mortality from obesity-related diseases. Research is more frequently proposing that obesity may be seen as a factor linking chronic, systemic inflammation and atherosclerosis. C-reactive protein is an acute phase reactant and a sensitive marker for acute and chronic inflammation of diverse causes. Human adipose tissue expresses interleukin-6, a cytokine that activates the production of C-reactive protein from the liver, potentially inducing low-grade systemic inflammation in persons with excess body fat. This could explain the increased risk of diabetes, heart disease and many other chronic diseases in the obese. This paper aims to provide a review on obesity as an ever-growing epidemic and the possible role that chronic systemic inflammation might play in contributing to the risks associated with one of the most common public health problems.

Keywords: obesity; C-reactive protein; Interleukin-6; inflammation; physical activity

Health SA Gesondheid Vol. 11 (2) 2006: pp. 23-29

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2071-9736
print ISSN: 1025-9848