J-shapedness: an often missed, often miscalculated relation

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Abstract

We present three considerations in analysing the association between weight and mortality, as well as other relations that might be non-linear in nature. First, authors must graphically plot their independent and dependent variables in a continuous manner. Second, authors should assess the shape of that relation, and note its shape. If it is non-linear, and specifically, J-shaped or U-shaped, careful consideration should be given to using the ‘best’ statistical model, of which multivariate fractional polynomial regression is a reasonable choice. Authors should also refrain from truncating their data to avoid dealing with non-linear relations.

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