New Zealand Obese (NZO) male mice develop a polygenic juvenile-onset obesity and maturity-onset hyperinsulinemia and hyperglycemia (diabesity). Here we report on metabolic and molecular changes associated with the antidiabesity action of CL316,243 (CL), a beta(3)-adrenergic receptor agonist. Dietary CL treatment initiated at weaning reduced the peripubertal rise in body weight and adiposity while promoting growth without suppressing hyperphagia. The changes in adiposity, in turn, suppressed development of hyperinsulinemia, hyperleptinemia, hyperlipidemia, and hyperglycemia. These CL-induced alterations were reflected by decreased adipose tissue mass, increased expression of transcripts for uncoupling protein-1 (UCP-1), peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPARalpha), peroxisome proliferater-activated receptor coactivator-1 (PGC-1), and robust development of brown adipocyte function in white fat. Increased drug-mediated energy dissipation elicited a 1.5 degrees C increase in whole body temperature under conditions of increased food intake but with no change in physical activity. Indirect calorimetry of mice treated with CL showed both increased energy expenditure and a restoration of a prominent diurnal pattern in the respiratory exchange ratio suggesting improved nutrient sensing. Our data suggest that CL promotes increased energy dissipation in white and brown fat depots by augmenting thermogenesis and by metabolic re-partitioning of energy in a diabesity-protective fashion. This is the first report demonstrating the effects of dietary beta(3)-agonist in preventing the onset of diabesity in a polygenic rodent model of type 2 diabetes.