AIM: To determine how serum concentrations of resistin are distributed in humans in relation to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. METHODS: Cross-sectional, descriptive study carried out in a random sample (n=713, 43% men, 18-75 years) of general population of inhabitants of the Canary Islands (Spain). Serum resistin concentration, HOMA2-IR, anthropometric parameters, drug consumption and physical activity were recorded. RESULTS: There were no differences in resistin concentration between participants with and without diabetes (3.1+/-0.2 vs. 3.2+/-0.1ng/mL; p=0.566), or between obese and non-obese participants (3.1+/-0.1 vs. 3.2+/-0.1ng/mL; p=0.803). Individuals with abdominal obesity (waist-hip ratio [WHR] >or=1 in men or >or=0.9 in women) had lower concentrations of resistin (3.0+/-0.13 vs. 3.4+/-0.1ng/mL; p<0.001). The correlations between resistin and HOMA2-IR (r=-0.231; p<0.001) and between resistin and WHR (r=-0.202; p<0.001) were inverse. Multivariate analysis corroborated the inverse association of this cytokine with HOMA2-IR, WHR and, in women, also retained in the model the direct association between resistin and physical activity and the inverse association between resistin and antihypertensive agents. CONCLUSIONS: In this population resistin is inversely associated with insulin resistance and abdominal obesity.