OBJECTIVE: To investigate the predictive value of serum uric acid (UA) for the development of diabetes in Asian Indians and Creoles living in Mauritius. METHODS: A total of 1941 men (1409 Indians, 532 Creoles) and 2318 non-pregnant women (1645 Indians, 673 Creoles), aged 25-74 years and free of diabetes, cardiovascular disease and gout at baseline examinations in 1987 or 1992, were re-examined in 1992 and/or 1998. Diabetes was determined according to WHO/IDF 2006 criteria. The relationship between baseline UA and the development of diabetes during the follow-up was estimated using interval censored survival analysis. RESULTS: In this cohort 337 (17.4%) men and 379 (16.4%) women developed diabetes during the follow-up. Individuals who developed diabetes during the follow-up had a lower serum UA levels at follow-up compared with their baseline UA levels, but this is not observed for post-menopausal women. Multivariate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) (95% CIs) for the development of diabetes corresponding to one S.D. increase in UA concentration at baseline were 1.14 (1.01, 1.30) in Indian men and 1.37 (1.11, 1.68) in Creole men. They were 1.07 (0.95, 1.22) and 1.01 (0.84, 1.22), respectively, in Indians and Creole women. CONCLUSION: Elevated serum UA is an independent risk marker for future diabetes in Mauritian men, whereas the prediction is weak in women.