Obesity is a well-known risk factor for the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, dyslipidemia, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease. Rather than the total amount of fat, central distribution of adipose tissue is very important in the pathophysiology of this constellation of abnormalities termed metabolic syndrome. Adipose tissue, regarded only as an energy storage organ until the last decade, is now known as the biggest endocrine organ of the human body. This tissue secretes a number of substances - adipocytokines - with multiple functions in metabolic profile and immunological process. Therefore, excessive fat mass may trigger metabolic and hemostatic disturbances as well as CVD. Adipocytokines may act locally or distally as inflammatory, immune or hormonal signalers. In this review we discuss visceral obesity, the potential mechanisms by which it would be related to insulin resistance, methods for its assessment and focus on the main adipocytokines expressed and secreted by the adipose tissue. Particularly, we review the role of adiponectin, leptin, resistin, angiotensinogen, TNF-α , and PAI-1, describing their impact on insulin resistance and cardiovascular risk, based on more recent findings in this area.