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Author Notes:

Correspondence: Lawrence S. Phillips, M.D., 101 Woodruff Circle, WMRB Room 1027, Atlanta, GA 30322; Phone: (404) 717-1392; Fax: (404) 727-1300; Email: medlsp@emory.edu

Acknowledgments: We thank Aisha Bobcombe, Amy Barrera, and Jade Irving for their assistance.

Disclosures: The authors have no financial or personal relationships with other people or organizations that could inappropriately influence or bias this work.


Research Funding:

This work was supported in part by DK07298, DK062668, RR017643, DK066204, and RR00039.

We thank the mission department of Egypt for their sabbatical support of Dr. El Bassuoni.


  • Screening
  • type 2 diabetes
  • prediabetes
  • impaired glucose intolerance
  • impaired fasting glucose

The "Metabolic Syndrome" Is Less Useful than Random Plasma Glucose to Screen for Glucose Intolerance

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Journal Title:

Primary Care Diabetes


Volume 2, Number 3


, Pages 147-153

Type of Work:

Article | Post-print: After Peer Review


Aims To compare the utility of metabolic syndrome (MetS) to random plasma glucose (RPG) in identifying people with diabetes or prediabetes. Methods RPG was measured and an OGTT was performed in 1,155 adults. Test performance was measured by are under the receiver-operating-characteristic curve (AROC). Results Diabetes was found in 5.1% and prediabetes in 20.0%. AROC for MetS with FPG was 0.80 to detect diabetes, and 0.76 for diabetes or prediabetes – similar to RPG (0.82 and 0.72). However, the AROC for MetS excluding fasting plasma glucose (FPG) was lower: 0.69 for diabetes (p<0.01 vs. both RPG and MetS with FPG), and 0.69 for diabetes or prediabetes. AROCs for MetS with FPG and RPG were comparable and higher for recognizing diabetes in blacks vs. whites, and females vs. males. MetS with FPG was superior to RPG for identifying diabetes only in subjects with age <40 or BMI <25. Conclusions MetS features can be used to identify risk of diabetes, but predictive usefulness is driven largely by FPG. Overall, to identify diabetes or prediabetes in blacks and whites with varying age and BMI, MetS is no better than RPG – a more convenient and less expensive test.

Copyright information:

Published by Elsevier B.V.

This is an Open Access work distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/3.0/).

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