Standard deviation versus standard errorBMJ 2011; 343 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.d8010 (Published 13 December 2011) Cite this as: BMJ 2011;343:d8010
- Philip Sedgwick, senior lecturer in medical statistics
- 1Centre for Medical and Healthcare Education, St George’s, University of London, Tooting, London, UK
Researchers investigated the effectiveness of a weight loss programme in men with moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea. Men were eligible to join the programme if aged 30-65 years, had a body mass index between 30 and 40, had moderate to severe obstructive sleep apnoea (as measured by an apnoea-hypopnoea index ≥15 events/hour), and were being treated with continuous positive airway pressure. The weight loss programme lasted one year and consisted of a very low energy diet for nine weeks followed by a weight loss maintenance programme. A total of 63 men were recruited at an outpatient obesity clinic in a university hospital in Stockholm, Sweden.1
Outcome measures included the change in body weight after participation in the weight loss programme. At baseline the sample had a mean weight of 113.1 kg (SD=14.2 kg). The researchers reported that the weight loss programme resulted in a significant decrease in weight. The mean change in body weight at one year from baseline was a reduction of 12.1 kg (95% confidence interval 9.8 to 14.3) (SD=9 kg; SEM=1.13 kg).
Which of the following, if any, are true?
a) The standard deviation of body weight at baseline provides a measure of the spread of observations of weight in the sample before participants began the weight loss programme.
b) At baseline, approximately 95% of sample members had a body weight that was within two standard …
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