Background: The Asia-Pacific region is thought to be severely affected by diabetes. However, reliable, standardised data on prevalence and characteristics of glucose intolerance in Asian populations remain sparse. We describe the results of two field surveys undertaken in Cambodia in 2004.
Methods: 2246 randomly selected adults aged 25 years and older were examined in two communities, one rural (Siemreap) and one semi-urban (Kampong Cham). The diagnosis of diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance was based on 2-h blood glucose estimation using criteria recommended by the latest report of a WHO Expert Group. Blood pressure, anthropometry, habitual diet, and other relevant characteristics were also recorded.
Findings: Prevalence of diabetes was 5% in Siemreap and 11% in Kampong Cham. Prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance was 10% in Siemreap and 15% in Kampong Cham. About two-thirds of all cases of diabetes were undiagnosed before the survey. Prevalence of hypertension was 12% at Siemreap and 25% at Kampong Cham. People in Kampong Cham had higher estimates of central obesity than those in Siemreap.
Interpretation: Diabetes and hypertension are not uncommon in Cambodia. A quarter of all adults in the chosen suburban community had some degree of glucose intolerance. Since Cambodian society is relatively poor, and lifestyle is fairly traditional by international standards, these findings are unexpected.