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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Public Health 1/2015

Adapting existing diabetes risk scores for an Asian population: a risk score for detecting undiagnosed diabetes in the Mongolian population

BMC Public Health > Ausgabe 1/2015
Otgontuya Dugee, Oyunbileg Janchiv, Pekka Jousilahti, Ariuntuya Sakhiya, Enkhtuya Palam, J. Pekka Nuorti, Markku Peltonen
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interest.

Authors’ contributions

MP, PJ and OD drafted the manuscript and contributed to the concept, analysis and interpretation of the data. MP, OD, OJ and PJ substantiated the manuscript checking the intellectual content. EP, PN and MP provided final approval for the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



Most of the commonly used diabetes mellitus screening tools and risk scores have been developed with American or European populations in mind. Their applicability, therefore, to low and middle-income countries remains unquantified. Simultaneously, low and middle-income countries including Mongolia are currently witnessing rising diabetes prevalence. This research aims to develop and validate a diabetes risk score for the screening of undiagnosed type 2 diabetes mellitus in the Mongolian adult population.


Blood glucose measurements from 1018 Mongolians, as well as information on demography and risk factors prevalence was drawn from 2009 STEPS data. Existing risk scores were applied, measuring sensitivity using area under ROC-curves. Logistic regression models were used to identify additional independent predictors for undiagnosed diabetes. Finally, a new risk score was developed and Hosmer-Lemeshow tests were used to evaluate the agreement between the observed and predicted prevalence.


The performance of existing risk scores to identify undiagnosed diabetes was moderate; with the area under ROC curves between 61–64 %. In addition to well-established risk factors, three new independent predictors for undiagnosed diabetes were identified. Incorporating these into a new risk score, the area under ROC curves increased to 77 % (95 % CI 71 %–82 %).


Existing European or American diabetes risk tools cannot be adopted in Asian countries without prior validation in the specific population. With this in mind, a low-cost, reliable screening tool for undiagnosed diabetes was developed and internally validated for Mongolians. The potential for cost and morbidity savings could be significant.
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