Open Access Open Badges Research article

Trends and risk factors of hyperglycemia and diabetes among Kuwaiti adults: National Nutrition Surveillance Data from 2002 to 2009

Faruk Ahmed1*, Carol Waslien2, Mona A Al-Sumaie3, Prasanna Prakash3 and Ahmad Allafi4

Author Affiliations

1 Nutrition and Dietetics, School of Public Health and Griffith Health Institute, Griffith University, Gold Coast Campus, Queensland, 4222, Australia

2 Middle East Monitor, Washington, DC, USA

3 Community Nutrition Promotion Department, Food and Nutrition Administration, Ministry of Health, Safat, Kuwait

4 Department of Family Sciences, College for Women, Kuwait University, Safat, Kuwait

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BMC Public Health 2013, 13:103  doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-103

Published: 5 February 2013



Current prevalence estimates for diabetes in Arabian Gulf countries are some of the world’s highest, yet regional trends and contributing factors are poorly documented. The present study was designed to determine temporal changes in the prevalence of impaired fasting glucose (IFG) and diabetes and associated factors in Kuwaiti adults.


Data analysis from the nationally representative cross-sectional Kuwait National Nutrition Surveillance System. 2745 males and 3611 females, aged 20–69 years, attending registration for employment or pensions and Hajj Pilgrimage health check-ups or accompanying children for immunizations from 2002 through 2009 were participated. Socio-demographic and lifestyle information, height and weight, and blood samples were collected.


During the 8 years (2002–09), prevalences of IFG in males and females decreased by 7.4% and 6.8% and of diabetes by 9.8% and 8.9% in males and females, respectively. Linear regression for blood glucose level with time, adjusted for age, BMI, blood cholesterol and education level, showed a greater decrease in males than females (1.12 vs 0.93 mmol/L); males also showed an increase in 2002–2003 followed by a marked decrease in 2006–2007 while females showed a significant decrease in 2008–2009. Both males and females showed the largest decrease in the 2nd half of the study accounting for the majority of the overall decrease (1.13 mmol/L for males and 0.87 mmol/l for females for the 4 years). Compared with 2002–03, the OR for IFG in males decreased with time, and becoming significantly lower (OR=0.32; 95% CI: 0.21-0.49) for 2008–09. In females, the OR for IFG decreased significantly with time, except in 2006–07. Similarly, the OR for diabetes in males decreased to 0.34 (95% CI: 0.24-0.49) and in females to 0.33 (95% CI: 0.22-0.50) in 2008–09. For both genders, age and BMI were independently positively associated with IFG and diabetes, while education levels and smoking were negatively associated with IFG and diabetes. No significant association was found for either hypercholesterolemia or exercise in either gender.


Continued monitoring of blood glucose is needed to see if negative trends observed in 2008–2009 endure and further research of contributing factors is required for development of targeted intervention strategies.