Impact of A1C screening criterion on the diagnosis of pre-diabetes among U.S. adults

Devin M. Mann, April P. Carson, Daichi Shimbo, Vivian Fonseca, Caroline S. Fox, Paul Muntner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

104 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE - New clinical practice recommendations include A1C as an alternative to fasting glucose as a diagnostic test for identifying pre-diabetes. The impact of these new recommendations on the diagnosis of pre-diabetes is unknown. RESEARCH DESIGNANDMETHODS - Data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 1999-2006 (n = 7,029) were analyzed to determine the percentage and number of U.S. adults without diabetes classified as having pre-diabetes by the elevated A1C (5.7-6.4%) and by the impaired fasting glucose (IFG) (fasting glucose 100-125 mg/dl) criterion separately. Test characteristics (sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values) using IFG as the reference standard were calculated. RESULTS - The prevalence of pre-diabetes among U.S. adults was 12.6% by the A1C criterion and 28.2% by the fasting glucose criterion. Only 7.7% of U.S. adults, reflecting 61 and 27% of those with pre-diabetes by A1C and fasting glucose, respectively, had pre-diabetes according to both definitions. A1C used alone would reclassify 37.6 million Americans with IFG to not having pre-diabetes and 8.9 million without IFG to having pre-diabetes (46.5 million reclassi-fied). Using IFG as the reference standard, pre-diabetes by the A1C criterion has 27% sensitivity, 93% specificity, 61% positive predictive value, and 77% negative predictive value. CONCLUSIONS - Using A1C as the pre-diabetes criterion would reclassify the prediabetes diagnosis of nearly 50 million Americans. It is imperative that clinicians and health systems understand the differences and similarities in using A1C or IFG in diagnosis of pre-diabetes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2190-2195
Number of pages6
JournalDiabetes Care
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


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