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Screening for Diabetes and Prediabetes

Why is it so important to screen for diabetes and prediabetes?

Screening for diabetes and prediabetes provides an entry point for identifying individuals who could be helped by diabetes prevention programs, treatment, and care.

Learn more about the changing epidemiology here.

US Federal Diabetes Screening Recommendations

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) published its final diabetes screening guideline on October 26, 2015. The Task Force recommends screening for abnormal blood glucose as part of cardiovascular risk assessment in adults aged 40 to 70 years who are overweight or obese.3

This guideline is an improvement to the Task Force’s 2008 guideline, which recommended screening only adults with high blood pressure. However, the final guideline is not broad enough to capture all US adults who are at risk for diabetes, as it leaves out important risk factors such as race and ethnicity, family history, and previous gestational diabetes.

It also frames diabetes screening in terms of cardiovascular risk reduction, which minimizes the importance of screening for undiagnosed type 2 diabetes and treating to help prevent or reduce small blood vessel complications (such as blindness, kidney failure, or amputations), in addition to cardiovascular disease. (For details, see statements from the Diabetes Advocacy Alliance, American Diabetes Association, American Medical Association, and Novo Nordisk.)

The guideline does, however, for the first time recommend that primary care clinicians should offer or refer their patients identified with prediabetes to intensive lifestyle change programs, such as those recognized by the CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program.

To understand more about USPSTF and the steps Novo Nordisk and its Diabetes Advocacy Alliance partners took to move diabetes screening forward, please visit the DAA website.

Novo Nordisk commissioned several studies that helped build the evidence base for broader diabetes screening. You can read more about the studies and USPSTF guidelines in our Barometer resource section.



  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National diabetes statistics report: estimates of diabetes and its burden in the United States, 2014. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2014.
  2. Geiss LS, James C, Gregg EW, et al. Diabetes risk reduction behaviors among U.S. adults with prediabetes. Am J Prev Med. 2010;403-409.
  3. United States Preventive Services Task Force. Final Recommendation Statement: Abnormal blood glucose and type 2 diabetes mellitus: screening. http://www.uspreventiveservicestaskforce.org/Page/Document/RecommendationStatementFinal/screening-for-abnormal-blood-glucose-and-type-2-diabetes. Published October 2015. Accessed November 18, 2015.

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