Prevalence and Management of Diabetes in Korean Adults

Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys 1998–2005

  1. Yong Jun Choi, MD1,
  2. Hyeon Chang Kim, MD, PHD2,
  3. Hee Man Kim, MD3,
  4. Seok Won Park, MD, DRPH4,
  5. Jongoh Kim, MD5 and
  6. Dae Jung Kim, MD6
  1. 1Department of Internal Medicine, The Armed Forces Capital Hospital, Sungnam, Republic of Korea;
  2. 2Department of Preventive Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea, and Department of Preventive Medicine, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago, Illinois;
  3. 3Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kwandong University College of Medicine, Koyang, and Department of Internal Medicine, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea;
  4. 4Department of Medicine, CHA University, Sungnam, Republic of Korea;
  5. 5Department of Medicine, Albert Einstein Medical Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania;
  6. 6Department of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Ajou University School of Medicine, Suwon, Republic of Korea.
  1. Corresponding author: Dae Jung Kim, djkim{at}
  1. Y.J.C. and H.C.K. contributed equally to this study.


OBJECTIVE This research investigated recent changes in the prevalence and management status of diabetes among Korean adults.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS The Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (KNHANES), a nationwide survey examining the general health and nutrition status of the Korean people, was conducted in 1998, 2001, and 2005. Using the first (1998; n = 5,645), second (2001; n = 4,154), and third (2005; n = 4,628) KNHANES datasets, in the present study, we estimated the prevalence of diabetes among Korean adults (aged ≥30 years), the proportions of known cases of diabetes, and the proportions of well-controlled cases of diabetes, as defined by either the American Diabetes Association (A1C <7%) or the International Diabetes Federation guidelines (A1C <6.5%).

RESULTS In 2005, the prevalence of diabetes was estimated to be 9.1% (∼2.58 million people: 10.2% of men and 7.9% of women), including 6.2% with known diabetes and 2.9% with newly diagnosed diabetes. The prevalence of impaired fasting glucose was 17.4% (∼4.94 million people). The proportion of known cases of diabetes drastically increased from 23.2% in 1998 to 41.2% in 2001 and 68.0% in 2005 (P < 0.0001). Among known diabetic patients in 2005, 43.5 and 22.9% had A1C levels <7.0 and <6.5%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS The overall prevalence of diabetes in Korea has not changed significantly between 1998 and 2005. Physician diagnosis and treatment rates of diabetes have significantly improved during this period, but glycemic control was still poorer than that in other developed countries.


  • The costs of publication of this article were defrayed in part by the payment of page charges. This article must therefore be hereby marked “advertisement” in accordance with 18 U.S.C. Section 1734 solely to indicate this fact.

    • Received December 15, 2008.
    • Accepted July 28, 2009.
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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 32 no. 11 2016-2020
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