Insulin resistance is associated with dyslipoproteinemia characterized by increased serum triglycerides, reduced high-density lipoprotein 2 (HDL2) cholesterol, and increased small, dense low-density lipoprotein (LDL) subfraction particles. Physical activity and weight reduction are known to improve insulin resistance and dyslipoproteinemia, but their influence on LDL subfractions in diabetic patients is unknown. Therefore, we investigated the effect of a 4-week intervention program of exercise (2,200 kcal/wk) and diet (1,000 kcal/d: 50% carbohydrate, 25% protein, and 25% fat; polyunsaturated/saturated fat ratio, 1.0) on glycemic control and HDL and LDL subfractions in 34 obese patients with non-insulin-dependent diabetes (age, 49 +/- 9 years; body mass index [BMI], 33.1 +/- 5.1 kg/m2). Reductions in body weight (P < .001) and improvements in fasting blood glucose, insulin, fructosamine (P < .001), and free fatty acids (P < .01) by intervention were associated with reductions in serum cholesterol and apolipoprotein B (apo B) concentrations in very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL) (P < .01), intermediate-density lipoprotein (IDL), and small, dense (>1.040 g/mL) LDL particles (P < .001). These data underlie the positive influence of weight reduction induced by exercise and diet on insulin resistance and lipoprotein metabolism in obese diabetic patients, particularly showing improvements of the LDL subfraction profile with a decrease of small, dense LDL particles. This is of particular importance, as these particles have been shown to be associated with coronary artery disease.