Recently, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) introduced new diagnostic criteria. These new criteria are based on fasting plasma glucose levels, avoiding the burdensome oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT). We compared the 1997 ADA criteria with the 1985 World Health Organization (WHO) criteria with respect to the prevalence of diabetes and the cardiovascular risk profile in the population of the Hoorn Study.


The Hoorn Study is a population-based survey of 2,484 men and women, aged 50–75 years. An OGTT was performed and cardiovascular risk factors were determined in 2,378 subjects without known diabetes. Subjects were categorized according to both sets of diagnostic criteria.


Although the prevalence of diabetes was similar for both sets of criteria, 47 of 120 (39.2%) subjects who were diagnosed with diabetes according to the 1997 ADA criteria were not classified as having diabetes when using the 1985 WHO criteria. Similarly, of 285 subjects diagnosed with impaired fasting glucose by the 1997 ADA criteria, 195 (68.4%) were classified as having normal glucose tolerance by the 1985 WHO criteria. The overall agreement was poor (K 0.33; 95% CI 0.28−0.38). Subjects who were diagnosed as having diabetes by either set of criteria had an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, which was between the cardiovascular risk profiles of concordant normal and concordant diabetic subjects.


In this study, both sets of criteria diagnosed a similar number of diabetic subjects, but many of the subjects shifted between glucose intolerance categories. With either set of criteria, a considerable number of subjects at risk of developing diabetes and subjects carrying an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, as reflected by an adverse cardiovascular risk profile, will be missed.

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