Population-based health registries can be valuable resources for public health research, particularly for studying rare diseases and long-term health outcomes, where more traditional observational and experimental designs often have insufficient sample size or follow-up time to adequately address the research question(s) of interest. In this issue, Tith et al1 demonstrate the utility of one such health registry for asking questions that are difficult to answer using more traditional study designs. Using hospitalization records for Quebec, Canada, from 2006 to 2018, they found that women who had been hospitalized for bulimia nervosa had higher incidence rates of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and death than women without bulimia who had experienced a pregnancy-related hospitalization. This research highlights the potential strength of registry data for informing interventions to enhance public health. Here, we offer thoughts on how to design and interpret registry-based studies to enhance validity.
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O’Brien KM, Keil AP. Design and Interpretation Considerations in Registry-Based Studies. JAMA Psychiatry. 2020;77(1):15–16. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2019.2234
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