Diabetes Fact Sheets in Korea, 2018: An Appraisal of Current Status

Diabetes Metab J. 2019 Aug;43(4):487-494. doi: 10.4093/dmj.2019.0067. Epub 2019 Jul 17.


Background: The objective of this study was to investigate the prevalence, management, and comorbidities of diabetes among Korean adults aged 30 years and older.

Methods: This study used 2013 to 2016 data from the Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, a nationally-representative survey of the Korean population. Diabetes was defined as fasting glucose ≥126 mg/dL, current use of antidiabetic medication, a previous history of diabetes, or glycosylated hemoglobin (HbA1c) ≥6.5%.

Results: In 2016, 14.4% (approximately 5.02 million) of Korean adults had diabetes. The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose was 25.3% (8.71 million). From 2013 to 2016, the awareness, control, and treatment rates for diabetes were 62.6%, 56.7%, and 25.1%, respectively. People with diabetes had the following comorbidities: obesity (50.4%), abdominal obesity (47.8%), hypertension (55.3%), and hypercholesterolemia (34.9%). The 25.1%, 68.4%, and 44.2% of people with diabetes achieved HbA1c <6.5%, blood pressure <140/85 mm Hg, and low density lipoprotein cholesterol <100 mg/dL. Only 8.4% of people with diabetes had good control of all three targets.

Conclusion: This study confirms that diabetes is as an important public health problem. Efforts should be made to increase awareness, detection, and comprehensive management of diabetes to reduce diabetes-related morbidity and mortality.

Keywords: Comorbidity; Diabetes mellitus; Hypercholesterolemia; Hypertension; Nutrition surveys; Obesity; Prevalence; Public health; Republic of Korea.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose / analysis
  • Cholesterol, LDL / blood
  • Comorbidity
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diabetes Mellitus / epidemiology*
  • Fasting / blood
  • Female
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A / analysis
  • Health Surveys / methods
  • Humans
  • Hypercholesterolemia / epidemiology*
  • Hypertension / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nutrition Surveys / methods
  • Nutritional Status*
  • Obesity, Abdominal / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Risk Factors


  • Blood Glucose
  • Cholesterol, LDL
  • Glycated Hemoglobin A
  • hemoglobin A1c protein, human