Age- and Sex-Specific Prevalence of Diabetes and Impaired Glucose Regulation in 11 Asian Cohorts

  1. the DECODA Study Group
  1. From the Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland


    OBJECTIVE—To report the age- and sex-specific prevalence of diabetes and impaired glucose regulation (IGR) according to revised World Health Organization criteria for diabetes in Asian populations.

    RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS—We performed 11 studies of 4 countries, comprising 24,335 subjects (10,851 men and 13,484 women) aged 30–89 years who attended the 2-h oral glucose tolerance test and met the inclusion criteria for data analysis.

    RESULTS—The prevalence of diabetes increased with age and reached the peak at 70–89 years of age in Chinese and Japanese subjects but peaked at 60–69 years of age followed by a decline at the 70 years of age in Indian subjects. At 30–79 years of age, the 10-year age-specific prevalence of diabetes was higher in Indian than in Chinese and Japanese subjects. Indian subjects also had a higher prevalence of IGR in the younger age-groups (30–49 years) compared with that for Chinese and Japanese subjects. Impaired glucose tolerance was more prevalent than impaired fasting glycemia in all Asian populations studied for all age-groups.

    CONCLUSIONS—Indians had the highest prevalence of diabetes among Asian countries. The age at which the peak prevalence of diabetes was reached was ∼10 years younger in Indian compared with Chinese and Japanese subjects. Diabetes and IGR will be underestimated in Asians based on the fasting glucose testing alone.


    • Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Qing Qiao, Diabetes and Genetic Epidemiology Unit, Department of Epidemiology and Health Promotion, National Public Health Institute, Mannerheimintie 166, FIN-00300, Helsinki, Finland. E-mail: qing.qiao{at}

      Received for publication 6 May 2002 and accepted in revised form 14 March 2003.

      Members of the DECODA Group are listed in the appendix.

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