A consistent but as yet unexplained association between baseline ventilatory function and risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) has been reported from many prospective studies. Insulin-resistant states are associated with increased risk of CHD. Forced vital capacity (FVC), forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) and maximal mid-expiratory flow rate (MMEF) at study entry were examined as predictors for indirect measures of insulin resistance after a mean follow-up interval of 20.9 yrs in 1050 nondiabetic male subjects in the Normative Aging Study. Males in the top quintile of insulin or fasting insulin resistance index (FIRI) levels at follow-up were defined as being relatively insulin resistant. FVC was negatively associated with risk of being relatively insulin resistant using the insulin (p=0.002) or FIRI (p=0.0001) criteria at follow-up in logistic regression models adjusting for baseline age, body mass index, fat distribution pattern and cigarette smoking. Similar associations were found for FEV1 and MMEF. Additional adjustment for baseline postcarbohydrate challenge glucose levels made little difference to the results, suggesting that baseline glucose intolerance was not a significant source of bias. These findings are consistent with the possibility that insulin resistance may be one of the factors mediating the previously unexplained prospective association between impairment of ventilatory function and risk of mortality from coronary heart disease.