AIMS: To describe the prevalence of different stages of glucose intolerance in a population from Mauritius followed over 11 years. METHODS: Population-based surveys were undertaken in the multiethnic nation of Mauritius in 1987, 1992 and 1998, with 5083, 6616, and 6291 participants, respectively. Questionnaires, anthropometric measurements, and a 2-h 75-g oral glucose tolerance test were included. Subjects aged between 25 and 75 years with classifiable data were identified; 4991, 6463 and 5392 from 1987, 1992 and 1998, respectively. Glucose tolerance was classified according to WHO 1999 criteria. RESULTS: The prevalence of Type 2 diabetes increased significantly during the period studied, from 12.8% in 1987, to 15.2% in 1992, and 17.9% in 1998. The increasing prevalence was seen in both men and women, and in all age groups. The prevalence of known diabetes (KDM) increased progressively, and more markedly than the increase in newly diagnosed diabetes (NDM). A diagnosis of impaired glucose tolerance (IGT) was more prevalent amongst women whereas impaired fasting glucose (IFG) was more common amongst men. The prevalences of IGT and IFG did not change markedly during the period. The prevalence of diabetes and IGT was similar for participants of Indian, Creole and Chinese background in each survey, and the increasing prevalence of diabetes was seen in all ethnic groups. CONCLUSION: In this study, we report an increasing prevalence of diabetes over an 11-year period in Mauritius. This increase was seen in both sexes, and in all age and ethnic groups, and was mainly due to an increase in the numbers of those with known diabetes.