Research Highlight

New parameters to predict prediabetes

doi:10.1038/nindia.2018.118 Published online 12 September 2018

Body fat percentage and waist circumference are better indicators to predict prediabetes — considered a warning signal for diabetes — as opposed to the conventionally used measure body mass index (BMI), new research says1. The study also suggests levels of triglycerides and extracellular water as markers of prediabetes. 

Called the diabetes capital of the world, India has almost 61.3 million type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients and 77.2 million prediabetes patients. Prediabetes is a state where the blood glucose is higher than the normal value, but lower than the threshold for diabetes. Almost a quarter of prediabetics end up having T2DM over a period of 3−5 years. It is, therefore, critical to identify markers that could predict prediabetes.

Though previous studies report BMI as a predictor; T2DM has been found even in subjects with low BMI.

Researchers at Manipal Academy of Higher Education in Karnataka performed a non-invasive analysis on 83 prediabetics and 84 people with normal glucose levels in a tertiary care hospital1. They found that body fat percentage and waist circumference were significantly higher in prediabetes patients, while total body weight and extracellular water  in percentage terms were lower. Also, the triglceraldehyde (TG) levels were high, while high-density lipopolysaccharide cholesterol (HDL-C) was lower than those in the prediabetes group. The researchers say this combination of high TG but low HDL-C could further dysregulate glucose metabolism.

The researchers suggest that waist circumference and body fat percentage be included in diagnostic tests to measure prediabetes risk, while extracellular water measure be included as an adjunct parameter.


1. Nayak, V. K. R. et al. Body composition analysis , anthropometric indices and lipid profile markers as predictors for prediabetes. PloS One (2018). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0200775