OBJECTIVES: C-reactive protein (CRP) is involved in a wide range of diseases. It is a powerful marker for inflammatory processes used for diagnostic and monitoring purposes. We aimed to establish reference values as data on the distribution of serum CRP levels in young European children are scarce. SUBJECTS: Reference values of high-sensitivity CRP concentrations were calculated for 9855 children aged 2.0-10.9 years, stratified by age and sex. The children were recruited during the population-based European IDEFICS study (Identification and prevention of Dietary-and lifestyle-induced health Effects in Children and infantS) with 18 745 participants recruited from 2007 to 2010. RESULTS: In 44.1 % of the children, CRP values were below or equal the detection limit of 0.2 mg/l. Median CRP concentrations showed a slight negative age trend in boys and girls, whereas serum CRP values were slightly higher in girls than in boys across all age groups. CONCLUSIONS: Our population-based reference values of CRP may guide paediatric practice as elevated values may require further investigation or treatment. Therefore, the presented reference values represent a basis for clinical evaluation and for future research on risk assessment of diseases associated with increased CRP levels among children.
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