Objective: This study aimed to explore the association between the risk of newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes and galectin-3 and adiponectin and to investigate whether their joint action shows a favorable diabetes assessment performance.

Methods: We conducted a community-based study in 135 newly diagnosed patients with type 2 diabetes and 270 age- and sex-matched nondiabetic patients. Odds ratios and 95% confidence intervals were determined using logistic regression analysis. Receiver operating characteristic curve, decision curve analysis and calibration plot were used to explore their efficacy and clinical utility for models.

Results: High quartiles of galectin-3/adiponectin (quartile 4 vs 1: OR 2.43 [95% CIs: 1.21–5.00]) showed the strongest correlation with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes in the total population, which was consistent in the older population (age≥50 years old) in adjustment models. The combination + lipids + galectin-3/adiponectin model (AUC = 0.72 [95% CIs: 0.66-0.77]) displayed better diabetes assessment performance than the other two models.

Conclusions: High galectin-3 and low adiponectin levels were associated with the high risk of diabetes, and their joint action was a superior promising factor for evaluating diabetes risk. The diabetes discriminative strength of galectin-3/adiponectin was better in the older population than the younger.