OBJECTIVE: In 1997, the Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus of the American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommended three new sets of criteria for the diagnosis of diabetes that were different from those established by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1985. One of these three methods was based on a fasting plasma glucose value only. This article compares ADA criteria with WHO criteria by applying them to three subgroups of American Indians in the Strong Heart Study who had no known diabetes. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: The Strong Heart Study is a prospective epidemiological study of vascular disease in three American Indian populations aged 45-74 years. During the baseline examination from 1988 to 1991, participants without diagnosed diabetes underwent a fasting glucose test and a 2-h oral glucose tolerance test. These values were used to compare the ADA and WHO diagnostic criteria. RESULTS: By using fasting and 2-h glucose values, prevalence rates of undiagnosed diabetes were 15.9% according to WHO criteria and 14.4% according to ADA criteria. The overall agreement rate was 65%, and the weighted kappa statistic was 0.474, which indicates moderate agreement. The age-specific analysis showed that, among participants between 45 and 54 years of age, the prevalence rates of undiagnosed diabetes were 13.4% according to WHO criteria and 12.7% according to ADA criteria. Among those aged 55-74 years, the rates were 18.7% according to WHO criteria and 16.3% according to ADA criteria. Thus, the difference in the prevalence rates when using WHO and ADA criteria, although generally small in this population, was three times higher in the older group (2.4%) than the difference in the younger group (0.7%). CONCLUSIONS: The Strong Heart Study found that prevalence rates of undiagnosed diabetes determined by ADA criteria and WHO criteria were similar in its American Indian population. The data suggest that the difference between the two criteria may increase as age increases. Longitudinal data will be needed to evaluate further the utility of the two criteria.

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