The aim of the study was to determine the particular relevance of android fat distribution and dietary intake in cardiovascular risk in an obese Mediterranean population with high intake of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) and to compare the findings with those from normal-weight subjects. For the study, 193 subjects aged 25-60 were selected: 118 obese (BMI > or = 27 kg/m2), and 75 normal-weight (BMI < 25 kg/m2). Cardiovascular risk factors including hypertension, dyslipidaemia, glucose intolerance and insulin resistance were assessed. Nutrient intake and body fat distribution were determined. Results show that MUFA were highly consumed in the total population (21% of total energy). The obese population was normolipidemic and normoinsulinemic. However, cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) were significantly higher than in normal-weight (P < 0.05). Obese subjects derived a greater percentage of their energy intake from total fat and lower from carbohydrates and saturated fats (P < 0.05). BMI and waist-hip ratio positively correlated with fat percentage of total energy intake and with MUFA (g/100 g fatty acids) in men, indicating that the excess of fat intake in obesity is due to a larger consumption of olive oil. CVRF were significantly and positively associated to waist circumference and WHR, both in obese and in normal-weight subjects. In conclusion, not only obesity but also android fat in normal-weight subjects are important factors in cardiovascular disease even in the Mediterranean population, with a high intake of MUFA, where these factors seem to be more relevant to cardiovascular risk than dietary composition.