To compare 1997 ADA diagnostic criteria for diabetes mellitus and other categories of glucose intolerance/1998 WHO Consultation criteria versus 1985 WHO criteria, we analyzed data from a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) performed on 1051 high-risk subjects without medical history of diabetes at Diabetes Screening Clinic, Ramathibodi Hospital, Thailand. There were 372 males and 679 females, aged (mean +/- S.D.) = 50.3 +/- 12.55 years, BMI = 25.62 +/- 4.39 kg/m2. If fasting plasma glucose (FPG) was used as recently recommended then 54.1, 20.4, and 25.5% of cases were classified as normal, impaired fasting glucose (IFG), and diabetic, respectively. In diagnosing diabetes using a full OGTT based on the 1985 WHO criteria as the reference test, FPG > or = 7 mmol/l had a sensitivity of 57.7%, specificity of 97.4%, positive predictive value of 94.0%, and negative predictive value of 76.4%; 53.7% of subjects with IFG had 2-h plasma glucose > or = 11.1 mmol/l. The 1997 ADA/1998 WHO Consultation criteria and 1985 WHO criteria for a full OGTT yield similar overall results. FPG ( > or = 7 mmol/l) was not sensitive for diagnosing diabetes. Moreover, about half of the subjects with IFG were actually diabetic. Therefore, OGTT remains a valuable test in diagnosing diabetes and classifying various categories of glucose intolerance.