Pre-diabetes in adults 45 years and over in Ireland: the Survey of Lifestyle, Attitudes and Nutrition in Ireland 2007

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Pre-diabetes is an important indicator of future diabetes burden and many countries are reporting prevalence estimates of pre-diabetes. To date in Ireland, estimates of the prevalence of pre-diabetes were unavailable. Our objectives were to estimate the prevalence of pre-diabetes in a nationally representative sample of Irish adults and to explore determinants of pre-diabetes.


The Survey of Lifestyle Attitudes and Nutrition 2007 was a cross-sectional survey on health and lifestyle in a nationally representative sample of Irish adults. Analysis was performed on a subsample of 1132 participants ≥ 45 years who provided blood samples. Determination of pre-diabetes was based on American Diabetes Association HbA1c cut points of 39–46 mmol/mol (5.7–6.4%). To explore determinants, we modelled pre-diabetes prevalence as a function of a set of health system and socio-demographic variables using logistic regression.


The overall weighted prevalence estimate of pre-diabetes in participants ≥ 45 years was 19.8% (95% CI 16.4–23.9). There was no significant difference between age or gender-specific prevalence rates. Obesity was significantly associated with pre-diabetes on univariate and multivariate analysis. Population attributable fraction estimates for excess BMI, physical inactivity and poor diet as causes of pre-diabetes were 31.3% (95% CI –3.9 to 54.5), 10.0% (95% CI –2.7 to 21.3) and 6.1% (95% CI –4.9 to 15.9), respectively.


The high levels of pre-diabetes detected in this study are worrying. Population level interventions to address diet and lifestyle factors are needed urgently to prevent progression to diabetes in high-risk individuals.

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