Stability over time of modern diagnostic criteria for type II diabetes

Michael P. Stern, Rodolfo A. Valdez, Steven M. Haffner, Braxton D. Mitchell, Helen P. Hazuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - To examine the long-term stability of the World Health Organization criteria for diabetes in the 8-yr follow-up of the San Antonio Heart Study. A problem with older criteria for diagnosing diabetes was that many individuals classified as having borderline or chemical diabetes reverted to nondiabetic status on follow-up. Few studies have addressed this issue among diabetic patients who meet the more stringent, modern National Diabetes Data Group or World Health Organization criteria. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS - We studied 98 Mexican-American and 44 non-Hispanic white type II diabetic patients 8 yr after they were diagnosed according to World Health Organization criteria in a population-based epidemiological survey. Patients were classified as follows: whether they were on pharmacological treatment for diabetes at baseline, or, if not, whether they had a prior diagnosis of diabetes at the time of their baseline survey visit or were newly diagnosed. RESULTS - Of the 142 patients who met the study criteria for type II diabetes at baseline and whose status at follow-up was known, 20 (14.1%; 95% confidence interval 9.0-20.5%) no longer met criteria at follow-up 8 yr later. All but 2 of those who reverted to nondiabetic status were from the newly diagnosed group. Two of 20 had lost more than 5.0 kg over the 8 yr and an additional 5 had lost 2.5-5.0 kg. The 20 patients who reverted to nondiabetic status lacked many of the associated anthropometric, physiological, and metabolic findings of diabetes such as obesity, unfavorable body fat distribution, and dyslipidemia. Moreover, only one had proteinuria, and none had any grade of diabetic retinopathy at baseline. CONCLUSIONS - Epidemiological surveys that rely on a single oral glucose tolerance test to determine the prevalence of type II diabetes may overestimate prevalence by as much as 16% (95% confidence interval 10.5-23.6%) (142/122 = 1.16). The actual overestimate could well be less because some patients who truly have diabetes at baseline may be in remission at follow-up as a result of significant weight loss. Despite these difficulties, the modern National Diabetes Data Group and World Health Organization criteria are more stable than earlier criteria.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)978-983
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes care
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1993

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Advanced and Specialized Nursing
  • Internal Medicine
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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