Background: Loss of control (LOC) eating in youth is associated with excess body weight and adiposity. After adjusting for fat mass, youth with LOC eating have higher blood pressure and higher low-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared to youth without LOC eating. Increased inflammation may account for this relationship, although few data have examined this hypothesis. Therefore, this study explored the association between LOC eating and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hsCRP), a marker of inflammation. Methods: We investigated hsCRP concentrations in relation to LOC eating in a convenience sample of 194 youth (age 14.3 ± 2.1 years; 63.9% female; BMI-z 1.64 ± 1.06). The presence of LOC eating in the past month was assessed by the Eating Disorder Examination interview. Serum hsCRP was measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Adiposity was measured by air displacement plethysmography or dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. We compared hsCRP in those with and without LOC eating in analyses accounting for sex, adiposity, height, depressive symptoms, and eating psychopathology. Results: Youth with LOC eating had significantly greater hsCRP than youth without LOC eating (p = 0.02), after accounting for all covariates. The number of LOC eating episodes in the past month was positively associated with hsCRP (p = 0.01). The relationship between LOC eating and hsCRP was not mediated by depressive symptoms or eating psychopathology (ps > 0.05). Conclusions: Youth with disinhibited eating may manifest increased chronic inflammation. Those with LOC eating may be an important subgroup at risk for adverse health outcomes associated with both chronic inflammation and obesity. Future research should examine whether hsCRP concentrations mediate the relationship between LOC eating and its association with cardiometabolic risk.
- binge eating
- high-sensitivity C-reactive protein
- inflammatory markers; inflammation
- loss of control eating