Two major reports have recently revised the classification of and diagnostic criteria for diabetes. Classification was previously based on the need for insulin (insulin-dependent or non-insulin-dependent), but this has become increasingly confusing. Now, the type of diabetes is determined by the etiological process rather than the treatment modality. Type 1 diabetes is thus characterized by islet cell destruction and type 2 diabetes by a combination of defects in insulin secretion and action. An individual with either type of diabetes may be on any treatment modality. This classification should prove to be more logical and, for example, allow latent autoimmune diabetes in adults, which typically does not require insulin at presentation, to be classified as type 1 diabetes. The fasting plasma glucose diagnostic threshold for diabetes has been lowered to 7.0 mmol/l (126 mg/dl), and impaired fasting glucose (fasting plasma glucose 6.1-6.9 mmol/l [110-125 mg/dl]) has been introduced as a new category of intermediate glucose metabolism. These changes recognize that the old fasting threshold did not match the 2-h (postload) threshold well and that both micro- and macrovascular disease develop at lower fasting glucose levels than previously recognized. Although the prevalences of diabetes according to the new fasting and 2-h criteria are now similar in most populations, the actual individuals identified as having diabetes are often different. Over 30% of all those with diabetes have a nondiabetic fasting glucose but still have increased cardiovascular mortality. Thus, it is important to retain the oral glucose tolerance test for the diagnosis of diabetes.