How early should screening begin for diabetes?

September 7, 2021

How early should screening begin for diabetes?

recommendation from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force calls for obese and overweight Americans to start getting screened for diabetes at age 35, five years sooner than the current standard.

[Read more about the recommendation in a related blog post.]

Dr. Irl Hirsch, an endocrinologist with UW Medicine's Diabetes Institute, says earlier screenings will have benefit, but suggested that the guidelines could have been even more proactive toward specific populations at high risk.

“There are many of my colleagues who feel we should have done more in terms of screening people who are obese, and people of ethnic minorities, and people who are sedentary, and people with family histories of Type 2 diabetes," says Hirsch. "We should be screening them all the way down into adolescence, into the high schools and even into the middle schools, because there's a lot of diabetes there now that wasn't there 30 years ago.”

In downloadable video assets, Hirsch explains how lifestyle choices in the United States are leading to a rise in dabetes cases.

Getty Images

Terms of appropriate usage of file downloads

  • News reporters and news organizations may freely republish and distribute videos, still images and audio files produced by UW Medicine and the University of Washington School of Medicine.
  • Works must be attributed/credited appropriately (for example, “UW Medicine” – as denoted in the file) and must not be used for commercial purposes.
  • These visual and audio files may not be used to exploit or misrepresent UW Medicine or the University of Washington.
  • UW Medicine often licenses still images from Thinkstock but cannot grant republishing rights. You may not republish single image files credited to Thinkstock.
  • Logos of UW Medicine and University of Washington Health Sciences schools may not be republished without explicit permission. Contact us by phone or email: 206.543.3620 or