Abstract Background Different populations have diverse patterns of relationships between Impaired Fasting Glucose (IFG) and obesity and lipid markers, it is important to investigate the characteristics of associations between IFG and other related risk factors including body mass index (BMI), waist circumstance (WC), serum lipids and blood pressure (BP) in a Chinese population. Methods This was a case-control study of 648 IFG subjects and 1,296 controls derived from a large-scale, community-based, cross-sectional survey of 10,867 participants. Each subject received a face-to-face interview, physical examination, and blood tests, including fasting blood glucose and lipids. Student's t -test, Chi-square test, Spearman correlation and multiple logistic regressions were used for the... statistical analyses. Results Fasting plasma glucose (FPG) was positively correlated with BMI, WC, systolic blood pressure (SBP), diastolic blood pressure (DBP), triglyceride (TG), and total cholesterol (TC), and was negatively correlated with high density lipoprotein-cholesterol (HDL-C) (all p < 0.05). BMI was more strongly correlated with IFG than with WC. The correlation coefficient of FPG was remarkably higher with TG (0.244) than with TC (0.134) and HDL-C (-0.192). TG was an important predictor of IFG, with odds ratios of 1.76 (95%CI: 1.31-2.36) for subjects with borderline high TG level (1.70 mmol/l ≤ TG < 2.26 mmol/l) and 3.13 (95% CI: 2.50-3.91) for those with higher TG level (TG ≥ 2.26 mmol/l), when comparing to subjects with TG < 1.70 mmol/l. There was a significant dose-response relationship between the number of abnormal variables and increased risk of IFG. Conclusions In this Chinese population, both BMI and WC were important predictors of IFG. Abnormal TG as a lipid marker was more strongly associated with IFG than were TC and HDL-C. These factors should be taken into consideration simultaneously for prevention of IFG.