Importance: Noncommunicable chronic diseases have become the leading causes of mortality and disease burden worldwide.
Objective: To investigate the prevalence of diabetes and glycemic control in the Chinese adult population.
Design, setting, and participants: Using a complex, multistage, probability sampling design, we conducted a cross-sectional survey in a nationally representative sample of 98,658 Chinese adults in 2010.
Main outcomes and measures: Plasma glucose and hemoglobin A1c levels were measured after at least a 10-hour overnight fast among all study participants, and a 2-hour oral glucose tolerance test was conducted among participants without a self-reported history of diagnosed diabetes. Diabetes and prediabetes were defined according to the 2010 American Diabetes Association criteria; whereas, a hemoglobin A1c level of <7.0% was considered adequate glycemic control.
Results: The overall prevalence of diabetes was estimated to be 11.6% (95% CI, 11.3%-11.8%) in the Chinese adult population. The prevalence among men was 12.1% (95% CI, 11.7%-12.5%) and among women was 11.0% (95% CI, 10.7%-11.4%). The prevalence of previously diagnosed diabetes was estimated to be 3.5% (95% CI, 3.4%-3.6%) in the Chinese population: 3.6% (95% CI, 3.4%-3.8%) in men and 3.4% (95% CI, 3.2%-3.5%) in women. The prevalence of undiagnosed diabetes was 8.1% (95% CI, 7.9%-8.3%) in the Chinese population: 8.5% (95% CI, 8.2%-8.8%) in men and 7.7% (95% CI, 7.4%-8.0%) in women. In addition, the prevalence of prediabetes was estimated to be 50.1% (95% CI, 49.7%-50.6%) in Chinese adults: 52.1% (95% CI, 51.5%-52.7%) in men and 48.1% (95% CI, 47.6%-48.7%) in women. The prevalence of diabetes was higher in older age groups, in urban residents, and in persons living in economically developed regions. Among patients with diabetes, only 25.8% (95% CI, 24.9%-26.8%) received treatment for diabetes, and only 39.7% (95% CI, 37.6%-41.8%) of those treated had adequate glycemic control.
Conclusions and relevance: The estimated prevalence of diabetes among a representative sample of Chinese adults was 11.6% and the prevalence of prediabetes was 50.1%. Projections based on sample weighting suggest this may represent up to 113.9 million Chinese adults with diabetes and 493.4 million with prediabetes. These findings indicate the importance of diabetes as a public health problem in China.