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On the estimation of the effect of weight change on a health outcome using observational data, by utlilising the target trial emulation framework

Katsoulis, M; Lai, AG; Kipourou, DK; Gomes, M; Banerjee, A; Denaxas, S; Lumbers, RT; ... Diaz-Ordaz, K; + view all (2023) On the estimation of the effect of weight change on a health outcome using observational data, by utlilising the target trial emulation framework. International Journal of Obesity 10.1038/s41366-023-01396-0. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Background/Objectives: When studying the effect of weight change between two time points on a health outcome using observational data, two main problems arise initially (i) ‘when is time zero?’ and (ii) ‘which confounders should we account for?’ From the baseline date or the 1st follow-up (when the weight change can be measured)? Different methods have been previously used in the literature that carry different sources of bias and hence produce different results. Methods: We utilised the target trial emulation framework and considered weight change as a hypothetical intervention. First, we used a simplified example from a hypothetical randomised trial where no modelling is required. Then we simulated data from an observational study where modelling is needed. We demonstrate the problems of each of these methods and suggest a strategy. Interventions: weight loss/gain vs maintenance. Results: The recommended method defines time-zero at enrolment, but adjustment for confounders (or exclusion of individuals based on levels of confounders) should be performed both at enrolment and the 1st follow-up. Conclusions: The implementation of our suggested method [adjusting for (or excluding based on) confounders measured both at baseline and the 1st follow-up] can help researchers attenuate bias by avoiding some common pitfalls. Other methods that have been widely used in the past to estimate the effect of weight change on a health outcome are more biased. However, two issues remain (i) the exposure is not well-defined as there are different ways of changing weight (however we tried to reduce this problem by excluding individuals who develop a chronic disease); and (ii) immortal time bias, which may be small if the time to first follow up is short.

Type: Article
Title: On the estimation of the effect of weight change on a health outcome using observational data, by utlilising the target trial emulation framework
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41366-023-01396-0
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41366-023-01396-0
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Epidemiology and Health > Applied Health Research
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > Clinical Epidemiology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Health Informatics > Infectious Disease Informatics
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > Institute of Cardiovascular Science > Population Science and Experimental Medicine > MRC Unit for Lifelong Hlth and Ageing
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10180216
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