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Serum adiponectin levels have been suggested to be predictors of type 2 diabetes mellitus in diverse populations. However, the relationship between circulating adiponectin levels and the risk of development of type 2 diabetes in postmenopausal women has not been investigated.A total of 382 healthy postmenopausal women who participated in a prospective cohort study were followed for 5.8 years. Type 2 diabetes mellitus was defined according to the criteria set out by the American Diabetes Association. Adiponectin, osteoprotegerin (OPG), and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) levels were measured using ELISA.Of 195 women who did not have diabetes at baseline and who were reexamined in the second phase of the study for diabetic status, 35 subjects (17.9%) developed type 2 diabetes mellitus during the 5.8 years follow-up period. The women with type 2 diabetes had lower adiponectin levels than the healthy postmenopausal women. Multiple regression analysis showed that, after adjustments were made for age, cardiovascular risk factors, OPG, and hs-CRP levels, higher baseline adiponectin levels were associated with a lower relative risk (RR) of having type 2 (RR = 0.07, confidence interval [CI]: 0.01–0.66, P = 0.021).Higher baseline adiponectin levels functioned as a predictor of a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes mellitus among postmenopausal women during a 5.8 years follow-up study. Therefore, it is suggested that elevated adiponectin levels may offer protection against the development of type 2 diabetes mellitus after the menopause.