Full accounting of diabetes and pre-diabetes in the U.S. population in 1988-1994 and 2005-2006

Diabetes Care. 2009 Feb;32(2):287-94. doi: 10.2337/dc08-1296. Epub 2008 Nov 18.


Objective: We examined the prevalences of diagnosed diabetes, and undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes using fasting and 2-h oral glucose tolerance test values, in the U.S. during 2005-2006. We then compared the prevalences of these conditions with those in 1988-1994.

Research design and methods: In 2005-2006, the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey included a probability sample of 7,267 people aged > or =12 years. Participants were classified according to glycemic status by interview for diagnosed diabetes and by fasting and 2-h glucoses measured in subsamples.

Results: In 2005-2006, the crude prevalence of total diabetes in people aged > or =20 years was 12.9%, of which approximately 40% was undiagnosed. In people aged > or =20 years, the crude prevalence of impaired fasting glucose was 25.7% and of impaired glucose tolerance was 13.8%, with almost 30% having either. Over 40% of individuals had diabetes or pre-diabetes. Almost one-third of the elderly had diabetes, and three-quarters had diabetes or pre-diabetes. Compared with non-Hispanic whites, age- and sex-standardized prevalence of diagnosed diabetes was approximately twice as high in non-Hispanic blacks (P < 0.0001) and Mexican Americans (P = 0.0001), whereas undiagnosed diabetes was not higher. Crude prevalence of diagnosed diabetes in people aged > or =20 years rose from 5.1% in 1988-1994 to 7.7% in 2005-2006 (P = 0.0001); this was significant after accounting for differences in age and sex, particularly in non-Hispanic blacks. Prevalences of undiagnosed diabetes and pre-diabetes were generally stable, although the proportion of total diabetes that was undiagnosed decreased in Mexican Americans.

Conclusions: Over 40% of people aged > or =20 years have hyperglycemic conditions, and prevalence is higher in minorities. Diagnosed diabetes has increased over time, but other conditions have been relatively stable.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Ethnic Groups / statistics & numerical data
  • Glucose Tolerance Test
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys
  • Prediabetic State / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult