Invited commentary: on population subgroups, mathematics, and interventions

Am J Epidemiol. 2011 Feb 15;173(4):388-90; author reply 391-3. doi: 10.1093/aje/kwq419. Epub 2011 Jan 17.


New sex-specific equations, each with race/ethnic-specific intercept, for predicted lung function illustrate a methodological point, that complex differences between groups may not imply interactions with other predictors, such as age and height. The new equations find that race/ethnic identity does not interact with either age or height in the prediction equations, although there are race/ethnic-specific offsets. Further study is warranted of the effect of possible small race/ethnic interactions on disease classification. Additional study of repeated measures of lung function is warranted, given that the new equations were developed in cross-sectional designs. Predicting lung function is more than a methodological exercise. Predicted values are important in disease diagnosis and monitoring. It is suggested that measurement and tracking of lung function throughout young adulthood could be used to provide an early warning of potential long-term lung function losses to encourage improvement of risky behaviors including smoking and failure to maintain normal body weight in the general population.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Black or African American / statistics & numerical data*
  • Body Height
  • Cardiovascular Diseases
  • Female
  • Hispanic or Latino / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mathematics
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Respiratory Physiological Phenomena*
  • White People / statistics & numerical data*