Aims: To determine the prevalence of diabetes mellitus and impaired fasting glucose by age, gender, and by region and compare results with the 1991 survey; and estimate previously undiagnosed diabetes mellitus in the Omani population.
Methods: Cross-sectional survey containing a probability random sample of 5838 Omani adults aged >or= 20 years. Diabetes and impaired fasting glucose (IFG) were assessed by fasting venous plasma glucose using 1999 World Health Organization's diagnostic criteria (normoglycaemia < 6.1 mmol/l, IFG >or= 6.1 but < 7 mmol/l,and diabetes >or= 7 mmol/l). The 1991 survey was reanalysed using the same diagnostic criteria, and results were compared.
Results: In 2000, the age-adjusted prevalence of diabetes among Omanis aged 30-64 years reached 16.1% (95% confidence interval (CI) 14.7-17.4) compared with 12.2% (95% CI11.0-13.4) in 1991. IFG was found among 7.1% (95% CI6.2-8.1) of males and 5.1% (95% CI 4.4-6.0) of females. Generally, diabetes was more common in urban then rural regions. Only one-third of diabetic subjects knew that they had diabetes. Nearly half of the study population had a body mass index > 25 kg/m2.
Conclusions: The prevalence of diabetes is high in Oman and has increased over the past decade. The high rate of abnormal fasting glucose together with high rates of overweight and obesity in the population make it likely that diabetes will continue to be a major health problem in Oman. Primary prevention programmes are urgently needed to counteract major risk factors that promote the development of diabetes.