Evaluating risk factors associated with severe hypoglycaemia in epidemiology studies-what method should we use?

Diabet Med. 2004 Aug;21(8):914-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1464-5491.2004.01250.x.


Aims: To determine the most appropriate regression models to use when assessing risk factors for severe hypoglycaemia and to investigate the impact of model misspecification and its clinical implications.

Methods: A total of 1229 children with Type 1 diabetes (mean age 11.7 years sd 4.1), of which 605 (49.2%) were males, were studied. Prospective assessment of severe hypoglycaemia (an event leading to loss of consciousness or seizure) was made over the 9-year period, 1992-2001. Patients were seen every 3 months and episodes of hypoglycaemia along with clinical data were recorded. Over 70% of children never experienced a severe hypoglycaemic event. Data were analysed using the Poisson regression, negative binomial, zero-inflated Poisson (ZIP) and zero-inflated negative binomial (ZINB) models. The over-dispersion and likelihood ratio statistics were calculated and the analytical methods compared.

Results: The Poisson regression model did not fit the data well. The negative binomial and the zero inflated Poisson and negative binomial models fitted the data better than Poisson.

Conclusions: The commonly used Poisson regression models to analyse hypoglycaemia epidemiology may lead to biased parameter estimates and incorrect determination of risk factors for hypoglycaemia. We recommend the use of the negative binomial or zero inflated models to examine any risk factors associated with severe hypoglycaemia. Careful consideration must be given to the interpretation of hypoglycaemia surveys and their analysis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analogs & derivatives*
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / blood
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis
  • Risk Factors


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • glucosylated hemoglobin A