Glycated haemoglobin could offer several practical advantages over the OGTT for assessing glucose metabolism. Initial cross-sectional studies (1983-1985) on 381 subjects (mostly Pima Indians) described the relationship between HbA1c (a specific glycated Hb) and the OGTT. We performed follow-up OGTTs and HbA1c measurements on 257 of these same subjects 1.6-6.1 years later. Subjects were again grouped according to both the result of the OGTT (normal, IGT or diabetes, by WHO criteria) and HbA1c result (normal or elevated based on mean +/- 1.96 SD of normal). Of 66 subjects with IGT at baseline, 47 (71%) had normal HbA1c and 19 (29%) had elevated HbA1c. Twenty-six (39%) of these subjects had diabetes at follow-up. Of these subjects with IGT, a significantly greater percentage of subjects with elevated HbA1c at baseline (68%) showed worsening to diabetes than those with a normal HbA1c (28%); (chi-square = 7.8, df = 1, p < 0.01). Thus, in subjects with IGT, glycated Hb may be a useful predictor of progression to diabetes.