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Diabetes Care. 2001 Dec;24(12):2065-70.

Type 2 diabetes in older well-functioning people: who is undiagnosed? Data from the Health, Aging, and Body Composition study.

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Department of Preventive Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis, Tennessee, USA.

Erratum in

  • Diabetes Care 2002 Feb;25(2):413.



To assess, in an older population, the prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes, the number needed to screen (NNTS) to identify one individual with undiagnosed diabetes, and factors associated with undiagnosed diabetes.


Socioeconomic and health-related factors were assessed at the baseline examination of the Health, Aging, and Body Composition (Health ABC) Study, a cohort of 3,075 well-functioning people aged 70-79 years living in Memphis, Tennessee and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (42% blacks and 48% men). Diabetes was defined according to the 1985 World Health Organization criteria (fasting glucose > or =7.8 mmol/l or 2-h glucose > or =11.1 mmol/l) and the 1997 American Diabetes Association criteria (fasting glucose > or =7.0 mmol/l).


The prevalence of diagnosed and undiagnosed diabetes was 15.6 and 8.0%, respectively, among all participants (NNTS 10.6), 13.9 and 9.1% among white men (NNTS 9.5), 7.8 and 7.4% among white women (NNTS 12.4), 22.7 and 9.1% among black men (NNTS 8.5), and 21.6 and 6.2% among black women (NNTS 12.6). In multivariate analyses, compared with individuals without diabetes, individuals with undiagnosed diabetes were more likely to be men and were more likely to have a history of hypertension, higher BMI, and larger waist circumference. NNTS was lowest in men (9.1), individuals with hypertension (8.7), individuals in the highest BMI quartile (6.9), and individuals in the largest waist circumference quartile (6.8).


In approximately one-third of all older people with diabetes, the condition remains undiagnosed. Screening for diabetes may be more efficient among men and individuals with hypertension, high BMI, and large waist circumference.

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