AIMS/HYPOTHESIS: Prediabetes is a collective term for different subphenotypes (impaired glucose tolerance [IGT] and/or impaired fasting glucose [IFG]) with different pathophysiologies. A positive family history for type 2 diabetes (FHD) is associated with increased risk for type 2 diabetes. We assumed that it would also associate with prediabetes, but wondered whether all subphenotypes are related to a positive family history. METHODS: In a study population of 8,106 non-diabetic individuals of European origin collected from four study centres (normal glucose tolerance, NGT n = 5,482, IFG and/or IGT n = 2,624), we analysed whether having at least one first degree relative with diabetes is associated with prediabetes. The analyses were performed using the same models in each population separately. Afterwards, a meta-analysis was performed. RESULTS: FHD was significantly associated with the risk for prediabetes (IFG and/or IGT, OR 1.40; 95% CI 1.27, 1.54). This association remained significant in multivariable logistic regression models including sex, age and BMI (OR 1.26; 95% CI 1.14, 1.40). When different prediabetic outcomes were considered separately, the association was found for isolated IFG (OR 1.37; 95% CI 1.20, 1.57), isolated IGT (OR 1.25; 95% CI 1.07, 1.46) as well as for the combination IFG+IGT (OR 1.64; 95% CI 1.40, 1.93). After stratification on BMI, association between FHD and prediabetes was seen only in non-obese individuals (BMI < 30 kg/m(2)). CONCLUSIONS/INTERPRETATION: We found that FHD is an important risk factor for prediabetes, especially for combined IGT and IFG. Its relevance seems to be more evident in the non-obese.