Both insulin resistance and abdominal fat patterning are related to aging, and have been related to cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors such as dyslipidemia and hypertension. However, previous studies have not used direct methods to quantify the independent strength of the association of each of these two putative primary factors with metabolic outcomes. We quantified overall obesity by the body mass index (BMI) and used a previously validated magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) method to quantify abdominal fat in 63 healthy nondiabetic individuals aged 22 to 83 years. We also measured the glucose and insulin response to an oral glucose tolerance test and the insulin sensitivity ([SI] by modified minimal model analysis). Body fat patterning was evaluated by the waist to hip ratio (WHR) and by MRI, which allowed direct measurement of subcutaneous (SCF) and intraabdominal (IAF) fat depots at the umbilicus in these subjects. These independent parameters were related to risk factors for CVD (blood pressure, lipids, and lipoproteins) and to plasma concentrations of free fatty acids (FFAs). Measures of overall obesity (BMI), total fat [TF], and/or SCF measured at the abdomen by MRI), glucose/insulin metabolism and SI, and central fat patterning (WHR or IAF measured by MRI) were correlated with mean arterial pressure (MAP), triglyceride (TG), and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) levels in univariate analysis and after controlling for age and gender. An index of central fat patterning (WHR) added to the informativeness of the insulin area under the curve (IAUC) in explaining 24% of the variability in plasma TG concentration, but measures of overall obesity were not independently related. Both the BMI and TF contributed to the IAUC in explaining 32% to 34% of the variability in MAP, but central fat patterning was not independently related. No index of overall obesity, fat patterning, glucose/insulin metabolism, and/or SI, was independently related to the plasma concentration of HDL-C after controlling for any one of the other two. Direct measurement of glucose/insulin metabolism and SI, as well as fat patterning, provides information on their relative associations with CVD risk factors. The measures of glucose/insulin metabolism and SI were more consistently related to dyslipidemia and hypertension than were the overall obesity and fat patterning in this healthy population.