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Important Facts for Diabetes Hemoglobin A1C Tests


Percentage of adults aged 18 or older with diagnosed diabetes who self-report they had at least two A1C tests during the prior 12 months.


Number of adults 18 or older with diagnosed diabetes who had at least two A1C tests in the past 12 months.


Total number of surveyed adults 18 or older who were ever told by a health care professional that they had diabetes (excludes women with a history of gestational diabetes). Responses of "Don't know" and "Refused" were excluded from the analysis.

Data Interpretation Issues

Beginning in 2011, BRFSS data include both landline and cell phone respondent data along with a new weighting methodology called iterative proportional fitting, or raking. This methodology utilizes additional demographic information (such as education, race, and marital status) in the weighting procedure. Both of these methodology changes were implemented to account for an increased number of U.S. households without landline phones and an under-representation of certain demographic groups that were not well-represented in the sample. More details about these changes can be found at: [].

Why Is This Important?

Proper diabetes management requires regular monitoring of blood sugar levels. Glucometers provide immediate feedback on blood sugar levels. An A1C test, however, tells a person what his or her average blood sugar level has been over the past two or three months and is a more reliable indicator of blood sugar control. An A1C level indicates the amount of sugar that is attached to red blood cells (hemoglobin cells). Red blood cells are replaced every two or three months and sugar stays attached to the cells until they die. When levels of blood sugar are high, more sugar is available to attach to red blood cells. For most people with diabetes, the target A1C level is less than 7 percent. Higher levels suggest that a change in therapy may be needed. Therefore, obtaining regular A1C tests plays an important role in diabetes management. The American Diabetes Association recommends that people with diabetes have an A1C test at least two times a year. However, the test should be conducted more often for individuals who are not meeting target blood sugar goals, or who have had a recent change in therapy. (See [])

Healthy People Objective D-11:

Increase the proportion of adults with diabetes who have a glycosylated hemoglobin measurement at least twice a year
U.S. Target: 71.1 percent

Other Objectives

The American Diabetes Association recommends a target A1C level of less than 7%. This level corresponds to an average plasma blood glucose level of 170 mg/dL over the past 60-90 days. The Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS) uses indicators to measure performance by health plans in the U.S. The HEDIS A1C indicator measures the number of insured adults who have at least one A1C test a year. Please see the HEDIS A1C indicator that is included in the IBIS-PH list.

How Are We Doing?

The percentage of people with diabetes who had at least two A1C tests a year is approximately 70% in Utah and in the U.S. Because of the change in methodology that began in 2009, information for this indicator is limited to 2009 and later.

How Do We Compare With the U.S.?

When crude (unadjusted) rates for Utah are compared with rates for the U.S., Utah fares worse, 69.9% vs. 71.9%, respectively. However, once rates are adjusted for age differences, the rate for Utah is higher than that for the U.S., 67.0% vs. 66.0%, respectively. (2009-2011 aggregate data)

What Is Being Done?

A public service announcement, "Do you wish you could reverse time?" is available for view at [] in English and Spanish.

Evidence-based Practices

Diabetes self-management education is one of the best examples of an evidence-based practice. Diabetes educators help individuals with diabetes take the proper steps to maintain an A1C level of less than 7%.

Health Program Information

Individuals seeking more information about diabetes management are welcome to call the toll-free Health Resource Call Center at 1-888-222-2542.
The information provided above is from the Department of Health's Center for Health Data IBIS-PH web site ( The information published on this website may be reproduced without permission. Please use the following citation: " Retrieved Fri, 17 January 2020 11:27:16 from Department of Health, Center for Health Data, Indicator-Based Information System for Public Health Web site: ".

Content updated: Thu, 20 Jun 2019 13:03:27 MDT