Comparison of risk factor associations in UK Biobank against representative, general population based studies with conventional response rates: Prospective cohort study and individual participant meta-analysis

G David Batty, Catharine R Gale, Mika Kivimäki, Ian J Deary, Steven Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Objective: To compare established associations between risk factors and mortality in UK Biobank, a study with an exceptionally low rate of response to its baseline survey, against those from representative studies that have conventional response rates.

Design: Prospective cohort study alongside individual participant meta-analysis of other cohort studies.

Setting: United Kingdom.

Participants: Analytical sample of 499 701 people (response rate 5.5%) in analyses in UK Biobank; pooled data from the Health Surveys for England (HSE) and the Scottish Health Surveys (SHS), including 18 studies and 89 895 people (mean response rate 68%). Both study populations were linked to the same nationwide mortality registries, and the baseline age range was aligned at 40-69 years.

Main outcome measure: Death from cardiovascular disease, selected malignancies, and suicide. To quantify the difference between hazard ratios in the two studies, a ratio of the hazard ratios was used with HSE-SHS as the referent.

Results: Risk factor levels and mortality rates were typically more favourable in UK Biobank participants relative to the HSE-SHS consortium. For the associations between risk factors and mortality endpoints, however, close agreement was seen between studies. Based on 14 288 deaths during an average of 7.0 years of follow-up in UK Biobank and 7861 deaths over 10 years of mortality surveillance in HSE-SHS, for cardiovascular disease mortality, for instance, the age and sex adjusted hazard ratio for ever having smoked cigarettes (versus never) was 2.04 (95% confidence interval 1.87 to 2.24) in UK Biobank and 1.99 (1.78 to 2.23) in HSE-SHS, yielding a ratio of hazard ratios close to unity (1.02, 0.88 to 1.19). The overall pattern of agreement between studies was essentially unchanged when results were compared separately by sex and when baseline years and censoring dates were aligned.

Conclusion: Despite a very low response rate, risk factor associations in the UK Biobank seem to be generalisable.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberm131
JournalBritish Medical Journal (BMJ)
Volume368
Issue number8233
Early online date12 Feb 2020
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 12 Feb 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Comparison of risk factor associations in UK Biobank against representative, general population based studies with conventional response rates: Prospective cohort study and individual participant meta-analysis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this