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National Diabetes Awareness Month -- November 1997

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month. In the United States, an estimated 15.7 million persons have diabetes; approximately one third of the cases are undiagnosed (1). CDC highlighted National Diabetes Awareness Month with the national satellite broadcast, "Diabetes: Control is Prevention." The broadcast emphasized increasing awareness of the impact of diabetes, existing efforts to reduce the burden of diabetes, and mobilizing communities to improve diabetes outcomes.

Additional activities will emphasize the new guidelines regarding the diagnosis and classification of diabetes. These guidelines were developed by an international Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus, sponsored by the American Diabetes Association (2); CDC recommends that health-care providers use the new diagnostic and classification criteria. The following major changes are included in the committee's report:

Diagnosis. Lower the current fasting diagnostic criteria from greater than or equal to 140 mg/dL of plasma glucose to greater than or equal to 126 mg/dL, and eliminate the routine clinical use of oral glucose tolerance tests, which are more difficult and more expensive to perform than fasting glucose tests. This change does not alter the criteria for gestational diabetes mellitus.

Classification. Eliminate the terms "insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (IDDM)" and "non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM)." Type 1 diabetes replaces IDDM or juvenile-onset diabetes, and type 2 diabetes replaces NIDDM or adult-onset diabetes. The other two types are "gestational diabetes mellitus" and "other specific types," which includes cases of hyperglycemia associated with specific genetic defects, surgery, or drugs.

Additional information about diabetes is available from CDC's Division of Diabetes Translation, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, 4770 Buford Highway, N.E., Atlanta, GA 30341-3724, and from CDC's World-Wide Web site,, and other sites (3).


  1. CDC. National diabetes fact sheet: national estimates and general information on diabetes in the United States. Atlanta, Georgia: US Department of Health and Human Services, CDC, 1997.

  2. The Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Report of the Expert Committee on the Diagnosis and Classification of Diabetes Mellitus. Diabetes Care 1997;20:1183 97.

  3. CDC. Diabetes information on the Internet. MMWR 1997;46:1027 -- 8.

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