Table of Contents

Component Description

Diabetes mellitus will be assessed by measuring blood glycohemoglobin, fasting plasma glucose, 2-hour glucose (Oral Glucose Tolerance Test), and serum insulin in participants aged 12 years and over.

Glycohemoglobin measures are available for a full sample.

Diabetes is a leading cause of disease and death in the United States. More than 29 million Americans are living with diabetes, and 86 million are living with prediabetes, a serious health condition that increases a person’s risk of type 2 diabetes and other chronic diseases. In 2014, nearly 9.3 percent of all deaths for persons over the age of 25 were among people with diabetes. The prevalence of diabetes and overweight (one of the major risk factors for diabetes) continue to increase. Substantial new efforts to prevent or control diabetes have begun, including the Diabetes Prevention Trial and the National Diabetes Education Program.

Diabetes testing provides population data to: 1) determine a national estimate of diabetes prevalence (diagnosed and undiagnosed); 2) identify the risk factors; 3) permit a national cohort to be established for follow-up studies of this condition; and 4) provide critical information to clinicians and public health officials for the development of preventive care and community-based interventions.

Eligible Sample

Examined participants aged 12 years and older were eligible.

Description of Laboratory Methodology

In this assay, the stable (SA1c) and labile (LA1c) A1c forms can be individually resolved on the chromatogram without manual pretreatment, allowing accurate measurement of the stable form of HbA1c. The analyzer dilutes the whole blood specimen with a hemolysis solution, and then injects a small volume of the treated specimen onto the HPLC analytical column. Separation is achieved by utilizing differences in ionic interactions between the cation exchange group on the column resin surface and the hemoglobin components. The hemoglobin fractions (A1c, A1b, F, LA1c, SA1c, A0 and H-Var) are subsequently removed from the column material by step-wise elution using elution buffers each with a different salt concentration. The separated hemoglobin components pass through the photometer flow cell where the analyzer measures changes in absorbance at 415 nm. The analyzer integrates and reduces the raw data, and then calculates the relative percentages of each hemoglobin fraction. Analysis requires three minutes.

Refer to the Laboratory Method Files section for a detailed description of the laboratory methods used.

There were no changes to the lab method, lab equipment, or lab site for this component in the NHANES 2015-2016 cycle.

Laboratory Method Files

Laboratory Quality Assurance and Monitoring

Whole blood samples are processed, stored, and shipped to the University of Missouri-Columbia, MO for analysis.

Detailed instructions on specimen collection and processing are discussed in the NHANES Laboratory Procedures Manual (LPM). Vials are stored under appropriate refrigerated (6°C) conditions until they are shipped to University of Missouri for testing.

The NHANES quality assurance and quality control (QA/QC) protocols meet the 1988 Clinical Laboratory Improvement Act mandates. Detailed QA/QC instructions are discussed in the NHANES LPM.

Mobile Examination Centers (MECs)
Laboratory team performance is monitored using several techniques. NCHS and contract consultants use a structured competency assessment evaluation during visits to evaluate both the quality of the laboratory work and the quality-control procedures. Each laboratory staff member is observed for equipment operation, specimen collection and preparation; testing procedures and constructive feedback are given to each staff member. Formal retraining sessions are conducted annually to ensure that required skill levels were maintained.

Analytical Laboratories
NHANES uses several methods to monitor the quality of the analyses performed by the contract laboratories. In the MEC, these methods include performing blind split samples collected on “dry run” sessions. In addition, contract laboratories randomly perform repeat testing on 2% of all specimens.

NCHS developed and distributed a quality control protocol for all CDC and contract laboratories, which outlined the use of Westgard rules (Westgard et al., 1981) when running NHANES specimens. Progress reports containing any problems encountered during shipping or receipt of specimens, summary statistics for each control pool, QC graphs, instrument calibration, reagents, and any special considerations are submitted to NCHS quarterly. The reports are reviewed for trends or shifts in the data. The laboratories are required to explain any identified areas of concern.

All QC procedures recommended by the manufacturers were followed. Reported results for all assays meet the University of Missouri’s quality control and quality assurance performance criteria for accuracy and precision, similar to the Westgard rules.

Data Processing and Editing

The data were reviewed. Incomplete data or improbable values were sent to the performing laboratory for confirmation.

Analytic Notes

Refer to the 2015 - 2016 Laboratory Data Overview for general information on NHANES laboratory data.

Demographic and Other Related Variables
The analysis of NHANES laboratory data must be conducted using the appropriate survey design and demographic variables. The NHANES 2015-2016 Demographics File contains demographic data, health indicators, and other related information collected during household interviews as well as the sample weight variables. The recommended procedure for variance estimation requires use of stratum and PSU variables (SDMVSTRA and SDMVPSU, respectively) in the demographic data file.

The Fasting Questionnaire File includes auxiliary information such as fasting status, length of fast and the time of venipuncture.

The laboratory data file can be linked to other NHANES data files using the unique survey participant identifier (i.e., SEQN).

Detection Limits
Since this data is reported as qualitative data the use of lower LLODs isn’t applicable.

Please refer to the NHANES Analytic Guidelines and the on-line NHANES Tutorial for further details on the use of sample weights and other analytic issues.


Codebook and Frequencies

SEQN - Respondent sequence number

Variable Name:
SAS Label:
Respondent sequence number
English Text:
Respondent sequence number.
Both males and females 12 YEARS - 150 YEARS

LBXGH - Glycohemoglobin (%)

Variable Name:
SAS Label:
Glycohemoglobin (%)
English Text:
Glycohemoglobin (%)
Both males and females 12 YEARS - 150 YEARS
Code or Value Value Description Count Cumulative Skip to Item
3.8 to 17 Range of Values 6326 6326
. Missing 418 6744