To compare the relationship between insulin-mediated glucose uptake (IMGU) and excess adiposity as determined by measurement of either body mass index (BMI) or waist circumference (WC), IMGU was quantified by determining the steady-state plasma glucose (SSPG) concentration with the insulin suppression test and the relationship between the SSPG concentration and BMI or WC evaluated in a study of 208 healthy individuals (128 women/80 men). The results indicated that BMI and WC were correlated (P < .001) to a similar degree in both men (r = 0.90) and women (r = 0.86). Steady-state plasma glucose and both indices of excess adiposity were also significantly correlated (P < .001) to an essentially identical extent in men (r values of 0.71 vs 0.70) and women (r values of 0.54 vs 0.53). When the population was divided into tertiles on the basis of SSPG concentrations, 96% of those in the most insulin-resistant tertile were identified as being overweight/obese by BMI criteria and 84% as abdominally obese by WC criteria. However, a substantial number of those in the most insulin-sensitive tertile also demonstrated excess adiposity as defined by either BMI (45%) or WC (33%). To summarize, (1) BMI and WC correlate closely within an individual and equally well with IMGU, and (2) BMI is as effective as WC in identifying insulin-resistant individuals.