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New diabetes guidelines: Screen obese, overweight ages 40-70

New guidelines are changing the recommendations for Type

New guidelines are changing the recommendations for Type 2 diabetes screening. Credit: Dreamstine

Overweight and obese Americans between 40 and 70 years old should be tested for type 2 diabetes, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) now says. The group recommends that patients with abnormal glucose levels be referred to intensive lifestyle counseling.

Being overweight is strongly linked to the development of type 2 diabetes. With obesity on the rise in the United States, as many as one-third of the population may soon be at risk for the disease. “There is a strong argument to be made for this screening,” says Mayo Clinic endocrinologist Dr. Steven Smith. “The costs of diabetes — human suffering and health care dollars — suggest a heavy burden for society and individuals.”

The USPSTF’s latest guidelines, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, are an update from 2008 and based on evidence from several new trials. Findings show diet and physical activity counseling are effective in preventing or delaying progression of type 2 diabetes in patients with abnormal blood glucose levels. “There is evidence from several trials that targeting a 5 to 7 percent weight loss can be effective in delay or preventing diabetes,” Smith explains. The Centers for Disease Control coordinates a network of type 2 diabetes prevention programs in communities across the United States. It also offers a short online quiz ( to help determine if you are at risk for diabetes. Read more about Mayo Clinic’s work in preventing type 2 diabetes: