Odds ratio or prevalence ratio? An overview of reported statistical methods and appropriateness of interpretations in cross-sectional studies with dichotomous outcomes in veterinary medicine

Brayan Alexander Fonseca Martinez, Vanessa Bielefeldt Leotti, Gustavo de Sousa e. Silva, Luciana Neves Nunes, Gustavo Machado, Luís Gustavo Corbellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

One of the most commonly observational study designs employed in veterinary is the cross-sectional study with binary outcomes. To measure an association with exposure, the use of prevalence ratios (PR) or odds ratios (OR) are possible. In human epidemiology, much has been discussed about the use of the OR exclusively for case-control studies and some authors reported that there is no good justification for fitting logistic regression when the prevalence of the disease is high, in which OR overestimate the PR. Nonetheless, interpretation of OR is difficult since confusing between risk and odds can lead to incorrect quantitative interpretation of data such as "the risk is X times greater," commonly reported in studies that use OR. The aims of this study were (1) to review articles with cross-sectional designs to assess the statistical method used and the appropriateness of the interpretation of the estimated measure of association and (2) to illustrate the use of alternative statistical methods that estimate PR directly. An overview of statistical methods and its interpretation using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines was conducted and included a diverse set of peer-reviewed journals among the veterinary science field using PubMed as the search engine. From each article, the statistical method used and the appropriateness of the interpretation of the estimated measure of association were registered. Additionally, four alternative models for logistic regression that estimate directly PR were tested using our own dataset from a cross-sectional study on bovine viral diarrhea virus. The initial search strategy found 62 articles, in which 6 articles were excluded and therefore 56 studies were used for the overall analysis. The review showed that independent of the level of prevalence reported, 96% of articles employed logistic regression, thus estimating the OR. Results of the multivariate models indicated that logistic regression was the method that most overestimated the PR. The findings of this study indicate that although there are methods that directly estimate PR, many studies in veterinary science do not use these methods and misinterpret the OR estimated by the logistic regression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number193
JournalFrontiers in Veterinary Science
Volume4
Issue numberNOV
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 10 2017

Keywords

  • Bayesian model
  • Cross-sectional study
  • Log-binomial model
  • Logistic regression
  • Odds ratio
  • Poisson model
  • Prevalence ratio
  • Veterinary epidemiology

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