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What does 'followed for' mean in the following sentence.

It is explicit there are 121 000 subjects. But can we rewrite this sentence without ' followed for'. Does it add a special meaning to the sentences scientifically?

The study included more than 121,000 men and women followed for an average of 24 years.


How about my sentence:

The study included more than 121,000 men and women whose average age is 24 years old.


Could you give me some more examples in this usage to understand how to use it properly please?

http://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/study-urges-moderation-in-red-meat-intake-201203134490

  • "The study included more than 121,000 men and women followed for an average of 24 years old." - the word old is out of place here, because with it the sentence makes no sense. – CowperKettle Nov 16 '15 at 19:25
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    "Followed for" means that each of the study participants was tracked for 24 years. Say, a woman was followed from age 20 to age 44. A male was followed from age 5 to age 29. And so on. The upper and lower age brackets depend on the study's design and methodology; but the crux of the matter is that the average age of the participants is unlikely to have been 24 years. At least that's not what the expression "followed for 24 years" indicates. – CowperKettle Nov 16 '15 at 19:33
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    @CopperKettle I think the answer sketch is worth an answer already! – Damkerng T. Nov 16 '15 at 21:23
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Past participle forms of verbs can be used as adjectives. One meaning of this is equivalent to putting the words "that were/was/is" in front of it.

This is a blanket sewn by my mother.

This is a blanket that was sewn by my mother.

So

The study included more than 121,000 men and women that were followed for an average of 24 years.

For is the normal preposition to express the duration of time something was done - I lived in this house for 10 years, etc.

Your sentence:

The study included more than 121,000 men and women whose average age is 24 years old.

is fine, but changes the meaning. The original sentence is talking about the length of time that 121,000 men and women were followed, not their age.

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