Epidemiology and Population Health

Use and reporting of Bland–Altman analyses in studies of self-reported versus measured weight and height

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Abstract

Background/Objectives

Bland–Altman methods for assessing the agreement between two measures are highly cited. However, these methods may often not be used to assess agreement, and when used, they are not always presented or interpreted correctly. Our objective was to evaluate the use and the quality of reporting of Bland–Altman analyses in studies that compare self-reported with measured weight and height.

Methods

We evaluated the use of Bland–Altman methods in 394 published articles that compared self-reported and measured weight and height data for adolescents or adults. Six reporting criteria were developed: assessment of the normality of the distribution of differences, a complete and correctly labeled Bland–Altman plot displaying the mean difference and limits of agreement (LOA), numerical values and confidence intervals, standard errors, or standard deviations for mean difference, numerical values of LOA, confidence intervals for LOA, and prespecified criteria for acceptable LOA.

Results

Only 72/394 (18%) studies comparing self-reported with measured weight and height or BMI used some form of Bland–Altman analyses. No study using Bland–Altman analyses satisfied more than four of the six criteria. Of the 72 studies, 64 gave mean differences along with confidence intervals or standard deviations, 55 provided complete Bland–Altman plots that were appropriately labeled and described, 37 provided numerical values for LOA, 4 reported that they examined the normality of the distribution of differences, 3 provided confidence intervals for LOA, and 3 had prespecified criteria for agreement.

Conclusions

Bland–Altman methods appear to be infrequently used in studies comparing measured with self-reported weight, height, or BMI, and key information is missing in many of those that do use Bland–Altman methods. Future directions would be defining acceptable LOA values and improving the reporting and application of Bland–Altman methods in studies of self-reported anthropometry.

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Correspondence to Katherine M. Flegal.

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Flegal, K.M., Graubard, B. & Ioannidis, J.P.A. Use and reporting of Bland–Altman analyses in studies of self-reported versus measured weight and height. Int J Obes (2019) doi:10.1038/s41366-019-0499-5

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