RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: A combination of disproportionate stratified sampling and systematic sampling were used to select the sample for the survey. The final number of respondents was 3,568, giving a response rate of 72.6%. All subjects fasted for 10 h and were given a 75-g glucose load, except those known to have diabetes. Blood was taken before and 2 h after the glucose load. Diagnosis of diabetes was based on 2-h glucose alone.
RESULTS: The age-standardized prevalence of diabetes in Singapore residents aged 18-69 years was 8.4%, with more than half (58.5%) previously undiagnosed. Prevalence of diabetes was high across all three ethnic groups. The prevalence of impaired glucose tolerance was 16.1%, that of hypertension was 6.5%, and 19.0% were regular smokers. The total cholesterol (mean +/- SD) of nondiabetic Singaporeans was 5.18 +/- 1.02 mmol/l; 47.9% had cholesterol > 5.2 mmol/l, while 15.4% had levels > 6.3 mmol/l. Mean LDL cholesterol was 3.31 +/- 0.89 mmol/l; HDL cholesterol was 1.30 +/- 0.32 mmol/l, and triglyceride was 1.23 +/- 0.82 mmol/l.
CONCLUSIONS: Prevalence of diabetes was high across all three ethnic groups. Ethnic differences in prevalence of diabetes, insulin resistance, central obesity, hypertension, smoking, and lipid profile could explain the differential coronary heart disease rates in the three major ethnic groups in Singapore.