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1.6: Research Highlight - Risk Factors

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  • Learning Objectives

    Review and critically evaluate a scholarly, peer-reviewed, primary research publication.

    *Note: Each chapter of Introduction to Nutrition Science includes a Research Highlight like this one. The purpose of each of these is to extend your knowledge of the chapter content to relevant research. A primary research publication is one in which the results of the author's research contribute new knowledge to the field of study. 


    At the beginning of this chapter it was suggested that you might have wondered from where risk factors even come. Now that we have discussed some of the methods by which data is gathered from people, let's explore how that data is put to use to determine something like a risk factor. As you read the publication linked below, consider the following questions:

    1. What are your initial thoughts regarding the aim of this publication?
    2. What is the question that the author is trying to answer with this publication?
    3. What methods did the author use to determine an answer to the question?
    4. What sorts of results did the author obtain, and how were those results analyzed?
    5. What types of references does the author use to support the publication?
    6. Do you agree with the conclusions to which the author came regarding an answer to the question?

    Primary Publication

    Fulgoni, V. L., 3rd, Wallace, T. C., Stylianou, K. S., & Jolliet, O. (2018). Calculating Intake of Dietary Risk Components Used in the Global Burden of Disease Studies from the What We Eat in America/National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys. Nutrients10(10), 1441. DOI:

    Further evaluation

    To evaluate this publication further, it might help to know a little more about how '"risk" is determined. To begin, let's define the terminology. In epidemiology, relative risk is a number between 1-100 that indicates one's relative risk of developing a disease. This is similar to a hazard ratio, which is essentially the same thing described as a ratio, rather than a percentage. In other words, a hazard ratio of 1.25 would indicate a relative risk of 125%.


    1. BMJ Publishing Group (2020). How to calculate risk. BMJ Best Practice.


    This content was developed by Nicholas W. Hatch as part of the California Community College Open Educational Resources Initiative. It is licensed under a...


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