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We describe the design and present the results of the first year of a population-based study of screening for type 2 diabetes in individuals at high risk of developing the disease. High risk is defined as having abdominal obesity.
Between 2006 and 2007, 79,142 inhabitants of two Dutch municipalities aged 40–74 years were approached to participate in screening. Eligible participants had a self-reported waist circumference of ≥80 cm for women and ≥94 cm for men, and no known pre-existing diabetes. Of the respondents (n=20,578; response rate 26%), 16,135 were abdominally obese. In total, 10,609 individuals gave written informed consent for participation and were randomized into either the screening (n=5305) or the control arm (n=5304). Participants in the screening arm were invited to have their fasting plasma glucose (FPG) measured and were referred to their general practitioner (GP) if it was ≥6.1 mmol/L. In addition, blood lipids were determined in the screening arm, because abdominal obesity is often associated with cardiovascular risk factors. Participants in both arms received written healthy lifestyle information. Between-group differences were analyzed with Chi-square tests and logistic regression (categorical variables) and unpaired t-tests (continuous variables).
The screening attendance rate was 84.1%. Attending screening was associated with age at randomization (OR=1.03, 95% CI 1.02-1.04), being married (OR=1.57, 95% CI 1.33-1.83) and not-smoking currently (OR=0.52, 95% CI 0.44-0.62). Of the individuals screened, 5.6% had hyperglycemia, and a further 11.6% had an estimated absolute cardiovascular disease risk of 5% or higher, according to the Systematic Coronary Risk Evaluation risk model. These participants were referred to their GP.
Self-reported home-assessed waist circumference could feasibly detect persons at high risk of hyperglycemia or cardiovascular disease. Continuation of the large-scale RCT is warranted to test the hypothesis that targeted population-based screening for type 2 diabetes leads to a significant reduction in cardiovascular morbidity and mortality.