Variable Measurement

The correct estimation of the relationships between exposure and the presence of a condition (usually a disease) relies upon the probability distribution of measurement errors and the distribution of exposures and confounders in the whole population from which the sample is drawn. These requirements pose several problems in nutritional gerontology. Their resolution should entail good quality validation studies, at least in subsamples of the population of old people. However, as is set out later, there is no gold-standard measurement of nutritional intake, and the best that can be attained is the inclusion of several different measures of dietary intake that are used on several occasions. These would then give an estimate of the error incurred with the study instrument. However, caution is required even before using this when the study period greatly exceeds the time interval between first and last measure of reliability.

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