Performance of the 2015 US Preventive Services Task Force Screening Criteria for Prediabetes and Undiagnosed Diabetes

J Gen Intern Med. 2018 Jul;33(7):1100-1108. doi: 10.1007/s11606-018-4436-4. Epub 2018 Apr 12.


Background: In 2015, The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommended screening for prediabetes and undiagnosed diabetes (collectively called dysglycemia) among adults aged 40-70 years with overweight or obesity. The recommendation suggests that clinicians consider screening earlier in people who have other diabetes risk factors.

Objective: To compare the performance of limited and expanded screening criteria recommended by the USPSTF for detecting dysglycemia among US adults.

Design: Cross-sectional analysis of survey and laboratory data collected from nationally representative samples of the civilian, noninstitutionalized US adult population.

Participants: A total of 3643 adults without diagnosed diabetes who underwent measurement of hemoglobin A1c (A1c), fasting plasma glucose (FPG), and 2-h plasma glucose (2-h PG).

Main measures: Screening eligibility according to the limited criteria was based on age 40 to 70 years old and overweight/obesity. Screening eligibility according to the expanded criteria was determined by meeting the limited criteria or having ≥ 1 of the following risk factors: family history of diabetes, history of gestational diabetes or polycystic ovarian syndrome, and non-white race/ethnicity. Dysglycemia was defined by A1c ≥ 5.7%, FPG ≥ 100 mg/dL, and/or 2-h PG ≥ 140 mg/dL.

Key results: Among the US adult population without diagnosed diabetes, 49.7% had dysglycemia. Screening based on the limited criteria demonstrated a sensitivity of 47.3% (95% CI, 44.7-50.0%) and specificity of 71.4% (95% CI, 67.3-75.2%). The expanded criteria yielded higher sensitivity [76.8% (95% CI, 73.5-79.8%)] and lower specificity [33.8% (95% CI, 30.1-37.7%)]. Point estimates for the sensitivity of the limited criteria were lower in all minority groups and significantly different for Asians compared to non-Hispanic whites [29.9% (95% CI, 23.4-37.2%) vs. 49.8% (95% CI, 45.9-53.7%); P < .001].

Conclusions: Diabetes screening that follows the limited USPSTF criteria will identify approximately half of US adults with dysglycemia. Screening other high-risk subgroups defined in the USPSTF recommendation would improve detection of dysglycemia and may reduce associated racial/ethnic disparities.

Keywords: diabetes; diabetes screening; dysglycemia; prediabetes; undiagnosed diabetes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Advisory Committees / standards*
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods
  • Mass Screening / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys / standards
  • Prediabetic State / blood
  • Prediabetic State / diagnosis*
  • Prediabetic State / epidemiology*
  • Preventive Health Services / methods
  • Preventive Health Services / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Blood Glucose