j-shaped curve

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A distribution curve relating risk on the Y axis to exposure level on the X axis, in which the lowest risk is associated with a moderate, rather than minimal, level of exposure. An example is the relationship of daily alcohol consumption to all-cause mortality rates, in which modest alcohol consumption is associated with lower mortality rates than total abstinence from alcohol, whereas heavy alcohol consumption leads to higher death rates. In the words of the Victorian ballad, “A little of what you fancy does you good.” Interpretation of j-shaped curves may be confounded by competing risks, selection bias, and other factors.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology.

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