Longitudinal and cross-sectional estimates of pulmonary function decline in never-smoking adults

Am J Epidemiol. 1990 Oct;132(4):685-700. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.aje.a115710.


This paper describes methods for simultaneous cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis of repeated measurements obtained in cohort studies with regular examination schedules, then uses these methods to describe age-related changes in pulmonary function level among nonsmoking participants in the Six Cities Study, a longitudinal study of air pollution and respiratory health conducted between 1974 and 1983 in Watertown, Massachusetts; Kingston and Harriman, Tennessee; St. Louis, Missouri; Steubenville, Ohio; Portage, Wisconsin; and Topeka, Kansas. The subjects, initially aged 25-74, were examined on three occasions at 3-year intervals. Individual rates of loss increased more rapidly with age than predicted from the cross-sectional model. For example, for a male of height 1.75 m, the cross-sectional model predicted an increase in the annual rate of loss of FEV1 from 23.7 ml/yr at age 25 to 39.0 ml/yr at age 75, while the longitudinal model gave rates of loss increasing from 12.9 ml/yr at age 25 to 58.2 ml/yr at age 75. These results contrast with those of other studies comparing longitudinal and cross-sectional estimates of pulmonary function loss.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aging / physiology*
  • Body Height
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Forced Expiratory Volume / physiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lung / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Random Allocation
  • Reference Values
  • Respiratory Function Tests
  • Smoking*