Epidemiological studies report a high prevalence of type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome in the island nation of Mauritius. The Mauritius Family Study was initiated to examine heritable factors that contribute to these high rates of prevalence and consists of 400 individuals in 24 large extended multigenerational pedigrees. Anthropometric and biochemical measurements relating to the metabolic syndrome were undertaken in addition to family and lifestyle based information for each individual. Variance components methods were used to determine the heritability of the type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome related quantitative traits. The cohort was made up of 218 females (55%) and 182 males with 22% diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and a further 30% having impaired glucose tolerance or impaired fasting glucose. Notably BMI was not significantly increased in those with type 2 diabetes (P = .12), however a significant increase in waist circumference was observed in these groups (P = .02). The heritable proportion of trait variance was substantial and greater than values previously published for hip circumference, LDL and total cholesterol, diastolic and systolic blood pressure and serum creatinine. Height, weight and BMI heritabilities were all in the upper range of those previously reported. The phenotypic characteristics of the Mauritius family cohort are similar to those previously reported in the Mauritian population with a high observed prevalence rate of type 2 diabetes. A high heritability for key type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome related phenotypes (range 0.23 to 0.68), suggest the cohort will have utility in identifying genes that influence these quantitative traits.