The goal of this study was to investigate the prevalence of diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance in the adult population of Catalonia and study their association with obesity, central obesity, hypertension and smoking habit. A random sample of 3839 subjects aged 30-89 years participated in this cross-sectional study: 2214 subjects underwent a health examination with oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and 1625 were interviewed by phone. Diabetes prevalence (known and unknown) in the 30-89-year-old population was 10.3%, (95% CI: 9.1-11.6). In this age group, the prevalence rates of known diabetes, unknown diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance were 6.4, 3.9 and 11.9% in men and 6.9, 3.4 and 11.9% in women. The age adjusted prevalence to the world population for the 30-64-year-old age group was 6.1% (7.1% in men and 5.2% in women).The factors significantly associated with diabetes were age, obesity, hypertension and family history of diabetes. The high ratio of previously known diabetic cases to newly discovered ones, specially in the oldest age group, suggests good levels of awareness and medical services. The prevalence in Catalonia is similar to that observed in other Mediterranean countries.