The metabolic and cardiovascular complications associated with reduced fetal growth have been identified during the past 10 years. These complications that encompass cardiovascular diseases and insulin resistance syndrome consist of dyslipidemia, impaired glucose tolerance or type 2 diabetes and appear to result from the initial development of insulin resistance. The association of reduced fetal growth with the other parameters of the syndrome X appear less constant than with insulin resistance and the expression and/or the age of onset seem to depend on the degree of genetic predisposition of the population. Although the mechanisms underlying the development of the insulin resistance associated with reduced fetal growth remain unclear, some evidence argues in favor of a key role of the adipose tissue. Several hypotheses have been proposed over the past 10 years to understand this unexpected association. Each of them points to either a detrimental fetal environment or genetic susceptibilities or interactions between these two components as playing a critical role in this context. Although not confirmed, the hypothesis suggesting that this association could be the consequence of genetic/environmental interactions remains at the moment the most attractive.