Ever wonder where the line is drawn between having diabetes and not? This quick guide will give you the answers.

Know the Numbers

According to the American Diabetes Association's Standards of Medical Care, these numbers should be used to diagnose pre-diabetes and type 2 diabetes. The ADA suggests everyone over age 45 be checked every three years -- especially if your body mass index (BMI) is over 25. People with a family history of diabetes should be tested at a younger age and more frequently.


Fasting glucose level: Less than 100 mg/dl

Two hours after eating: Less than 140 mg/dl


Fasting glucose level: Equal to or greater than 100 mg/dl and less than 126 mg/dl

Two hours after eating: Equal to or greater than 140 mg/dl and less than 200 mg/dl

Type 2 Diabetes

Fasting glucose level: Equal to or greater than 126 mg/dl. A second test is required for confirmation.

Two hours after eating: Equal to or greater than 200 mg/dl. A second test is required for confirmation.

Aim for these Targets

Maintaining recommended targets for the following risk factors may help you avoid heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Aim for the targets below, as recommended by the ADA in its CheckUp America program at checkupamerica.org.

  • Weight: Body mass index between 19 and 25
  • Waist circumference: Less than 35 inches for women and 40 inches for men
  • LDL (bad) cholesterol: Less than 100 mg/dl
  • HDL (good) cholesterol: Greater than 60 mg/dl
  • Total cholesterol: Less than 200 mg/dl
  • Triglycerides: Less than 150 mg/dl
  • Blood pressure: Less than 120/80 mmHg
  • Blood glucose: Less than 100 mg/dl
  • Smoking cigarettes: No safe level
  • Physical activity: At least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days

Determining Your BMI

Body mass index (BMI) is a ratio of weight to height that's used to measure body fat. Use this formula to calculate your BMI or go to nhlbisupport.com/bmi/bmicalc.htm for a quick calculation. Then check your BMI category below.


BMI = [weight in pounds/(height in inches x height in inches)] x 703


  • Underweight: <18.5
  • Normal weight: 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight: 25-29.9
  • Obese: >30

Find Help Near You

To find recognized diabetes education programs by state visit the American Diabetes Association. Included programs are recognized by the American Diabetes Association.

To find a registered dietitian in your area visit Eat Right. Nearly 5,000 registered dietitians, who can help you customize a meal plan to manage weight and help control diabetes, are part of this list maintained by the American Dietetic Association.

Hope S. Warshaw is a certified diabetes educator and dietitian, author of Diabetes Meal Planning Made Easy, third edition (American Diabetes Association, 2006), and a member of Diabetic Living's editorial advisory board.