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Ethnic differences in prevalence of actionable HbA1c levels in UK Biobank: Implications for screening

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Claire WelshORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© Introduction Early detection and treatment of diabetes as well as its prevention help lessen longer-term complications. We determined the prevalence of pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes in the UK Biobank and standardized the results to the UK general population. Research design and methods This cross-sectional study analyzed baseline UK Biobank data on plasma glycated hemoglobin (HbA1c) to compare the prevalence of pre-diabetes and undiagnosed diabetes mellitus in white, South Asian, black, and Chinese participants. The overall and ethnic-specific results were standardized to the UK general population aged 40-70 years of age. Results Within the UK Biobank, the overall crude prevalence was 3.6% for pre-diabetes, 0.8% for undiagnosed diabetes, and 4.4% for either. Following standardization to the UK general population, the results were similar at 3.8%, 0.8%, and 4.7%, respectively. Crude prevalence was much higher in South Asian (11.0% pre-diabetes; 3.6% undiagnosed diabetes; 14.6% either) or black (13.8% pre-diabetes; 3.0% undiagnosed diabetes; 16.8% either) participants. Only six middle-aged or old-aged South Asian individuals or seven black would need to be tested to identify an HbA1c result that merits action. Conclusions Single-stage population screening for pre-diabetes or undiagnosed diabetes in middle-old or old-aged South Asian and black individuals using HbA1c could be efficient and should be considered.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Anderson JJ, Welsh P, Ho FK, Ferguson LD, Welsh CE, Pellicori P, Cleland JGF, Forbes J, Iliodromiti S, Boyle J, Lindsay R, Celis-Morales C, Gray SR, Katikireddi SV, Gill JMR, Pell JP, Sattar N

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care

Year: 2021

Volume: 9

Issue: 1

Print publication date: 01/01/2021

Online publication date: 05/08/2021

Acceptance date: 17/07/2021

Date deposited: 27/08/2021

ISSN (electronic): 2052-4897

Publisher: BMJ Publishing Group


DOI: 10.1136/bmjdrc-2021-002176


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