Invited commentary: On population subgroups, mathematics, and interventions

David R Jacobs Jr, Katie A. Meyer

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)388-390
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2011


  • age groups
  • body height
  • ethnicity
  • mathematics
  • prediction
  • respiratory function tests
  • sex
  • spirometry


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