Adiponectin, a novel adipocytokine produced exclusively in the adipose tissue, plays a major role in the development of metabolic syndrome, type 2 diabetes mellitus, and related cardiovascular (CV) diseases. However, information is scant regarding the association of adiponectin with measures of CV risk in young adults. This aspect was examined in a biracial (black-white) community-based sample of 1153 individuals (mean age, 36.2 years; 70% white, 43% male) who participated in the Bogalusa Heart Study. Adiponectin levels showed race (white > black, P < .0001) and sex (female > male, P < .0001) differences, and correlated significantly in a beneficial manner to measures of obesity (body mass index, waist circumference, and abdominal height), mean arterial blood pressure, lipoprotein variables (low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and triglycerides), measures of glucose homeostasis (insulin, glucose, homeostasis model assessment of insulin resistance [HOMA-IR]), and uric acid, after adjusting for age, race, sex, and cigarette smoking. In multivariate analysis that used either body mass index or abdominal height as a measure of general and visceral adiposity in 2 separate models, HOMA-IR was the major contributor explaining 18.4% and 18.1% of the variance, respectively. There was a significant interaction between abdominal height and HOMA-IR on adiponectin level in that the inverse association between adiponectin and insulin resistance was pronounced at higher level of visceral adiposity. Furthermore, adiponectin levels decreased with increasing number of metabolic syndrome risk factors defined by the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (P for trend <.0001). Moreover, adiponectin levels were low among those with positive parental histories of coronary heart disease (P = .03), hypertension (P = .04), and type 2 diabetes mellitus (P = .01), considered as surrogate measures of risk. These findings, by showing an inverse association of adiponectin with insulin resistance, visceral adiposity, and related metabolic syndrome, and also with positive parental histories of coronary heart disease, hypertension, and type 2 diabetes mellitus, underscore the value of adiponectin in CV and type 2 diabetes mellitus risk assessments in young adults.