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Editor's Correspondence
April 14, 2003

Insignificant Data Cannot Yield Statistically Significant Conclusions

Author Affiliations

Copyright 2003 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2003

Arch Intern Med. 2003;163(7):851-855. doi:10.1001/archinte.163.7.851

You cannot use insignificant numbers to draw statistically significant conclusions. He and colleagues1 claim to have shown a positive relationship between salt intake and the later development (over a 19-year time frame) of congestive heart failure in overweight (P = .02 for trend) but not normal weight men and women. Their major investigative variable, reported 1-day salt intake extrapolated to presumed lifelong salt intake, is based on the First National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES I) numbers derived from each individual's recall of a single day's food and salt intake.

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