Aims: The age-specific prevalence of diabetes mellitus and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) was estimated in 60-year-old individuals in 1996/97 and compared to the prevalence in 1974/75. The study also examined whether or not the change in prevalence of diabetes and IGT could be explained by changes in body mass index (BMI) and physical activity.
Methods: Diabetes and IGT were diagnosed by a standardized oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) in two Danish population-based, age-specific, birth cohorts.
Results: The prevalence of diabetes in 1996/97 was 12.3% among 60-year-old men and 6.8% among women, representing an increase in diabetes of 58% in men and 21% in women compared to 1974/75. The prevalence of IGT was 15.9% among men and 13.1% among women, representing increases of 109 and 16%, respectively. A concurrent increase in BMI in the 22-year period between the two studies explained the increase found in the prevalence of diabetes and IGT.
Conclusions: A marked increase in the prevalence of diabetes and IGT among 60-year-old individuals over a 22-year period was observed - especially in men. The increase was fully explained by a concurrent increase in BMI.