Elevated A1C in adults without a history of diabetes in the U.S

Diabetes Care. 2009 May;32(5):828-33. doi: 10.2337/dc08-1699. Epub 2009 Feb 5.


Objective: The purpose of this study was to examine the prevalence and correlates of elevated A1C in a large, nationally representative sample of adults without diabetes in the U.S.

Research design and methods: We analyzed data from 15,934 participants aged >or=20 years without diagnosed diabetes who had A1C measurements in the 1999-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a cross-sectional and nationally representative sample of the U.S. population.

Results: The overall prevalence of A1C >6% was 3.8%, corresponding to 7.1 million adults without diabetes in the U.S. population. Approximately 90% of these individuals had fasting glucose >or=100 mg/dl. Older age, male sex, non-Hispanic black race/ethnicity, hypercholesterolemia, higher BMI, and lower attained education were significantly associated with having a higher A1C level even among individuals with normal fasting glucose (<100 mg/dl) and after multivariable adjustment.

Conclusions: A single elevated A1C level (A1C >6%) is common in the general population of adults without a history of diabetes and is highly reliable for the detection of elevated fasting glucose. Nondiabetic adults with elevated A1C are likely to have impaired fasting glucose and an array of other risk factors for type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / blood*
  • Ethnic Groups
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / metabolism*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / blood
  • Male
  • Reference Values
  • Risk Factors
  • Sex Characteristics
  • United States


  • Glycated Hemoglobin A