Recent evidence has disclosed previously unrecognized links among insulin resistance, obesity, circulating immune markers, immunogenetic susceptibility, macrophage function and chronic infection. Genetic variations leading to altered production or function of circulating innate immune proteins, cellular pattern-recognition receptors and inflammatory cytokines have been linked with insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, obesity and atherosclerosis. Cellular innate immune associations with obesity and insulin resistance include increased white blood cell count and adipose tissue macrophage numbers. The innate immune response is modulated possibly by both predisposition (genetic or fetal programming), perhaps owing to evolutionary pressures caused by acute infections at the population level (pandemics), and chronic low exposure to environmental products or infectious agents. The common characteristics shared among innate immunity activation, obesity and insulin resistance are summarized.