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To estimate prevalence of type 2 diabetes and impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) among a population of native Hawaiians in two rural communities.Prevalence of glucose intolerance was assessed in two rural communities by history (confirmed by record review) or with a 75-g oral glucose tolerance test according to World Health Organization criteria. Anthropometric and demographic data were also obtained. A short survey was used to estimate the prevalence of known diabetes among nonparticipants. Prevalence rates were adjusted using the standard world population of Segi.A total of 574 native Hawaiians age >or= to 30 years participated. The crude prevalence of IGT and type 2 diabetes were 15.5 and 20.4%, respectively. Only IGT prevalence was significantly higher (P = 0.03) among women (18.7%) than among men (10.9%). Prevalence of glucose intolerance was significantly associated with BMI, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). After adjusting for age and BMI, waist circumference and WHR were significantly and independently associated with type 2 diabetes prevalence only among women. Prevalence of type 2 diabetes was not significantly associated with the percentage of Hawaiian ancestry after adjusting for age.This study observed a high prevalence of glucose intolerance associated with being overweight among native Hawaiians. Age-adjusted type 2 diabetes prevalence was four times higher than among the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) II population. Prevalence was high despite high rates of admixture with other ethnic groups of Hawaii, suggesting that these other Asian and Pacific Island populations share similar susceptibility to type 2 diabetes risk.