Background: Hypertension is characterized not only by a metabolic syndrome that includes obesity and insulin resistance, but also by increases in left-ventricular mass (LVM), reduced arterial compliance and altered renal function. This investigation has examined a possible role for the renin-angiotensin system as well as body mass and insulin values in mediating these cardiovascular and renal aspects of the hypertension syndrome. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study of 142 patients identified by community screening. Mean (±SE) age was 46 ± 1 years and patients had stage I–II hypertension (blood pressure: 145 ± 1/98 ± 0.5 mm Hg). For analysis, patients were divided into 2 groups: those with body mass index (BMI) <27 kg/m<sup>2</sup> (lean, n = 72) or BMI >27 kg/m<sup>2</sup> (overweight, n = 70). Results: By univariate analysis, LVM in lean patients correlated significantly with plasma renin activity (PRA), plasma aldosterone, BMI and systolic BP; but with multivariate regression, only PRA (p < 0.01) and BMI (p < 0.04) remained in the model as independent predictors of LVM. For LVM in overweight patients, only BMI (p < 0.02) remained in the model. For total arterial compliance (stroke volume/pulse pressure) only fasting plasma insulin (in the overweight group) was significantly related (p < 0.01). For urinary protein excretion, the only predictor in lean patients was PRA (p < 0.02), whereas in overweight patients it was BMI (p < 0.03). For creatinine clearance, BMI (p < 0.01 in overweight patients) remained in the model, though by univariate regression PRA had an age-dependent dichotomous relationship to clearance: r = +0.25 (p < 0.01) in patients <55 years, but r = –0.54 (p < 0.01) in patients ≥55 years. Conclusion: These findings suggest that in overweight patients cardiovascular and renal values depend chiefly on body weight and insulin, but that in normal weight hypertensives the renin-angiotensin system may play the major role.