Abdominal fat distribution is associated with insulin resistance in healthy young men. Factors modulating this phenomenon remain unclear. Pulsatile insulin release has been implicated as a potential regulator of insulin action. The relationship of pulsatility of peripheral insulin levels to fat distribution and peripheral insulin sensitivity was examined in 10 healthy men. Fat distribution was determined by the waist to hip ratio. Peripheral insulin sensitivity was assessed by the euglycemic clamp at an insulin infusion rate of 287 pmol/min.m2. Pulsatility of insulin was assessed by sampling every 2 min for 90 min in the basal state. The characteristics of insulin pulses were assessed by the computer program Pulsar. The waist to hip ratio was negatively associated with insulin sensitivity (r = -0.70, P less than 0.05) and insulin pulse interval (r = -0.66, P less than 0.05). The insulin pulse interval was positively correlated with peripheral insulin sensitivity (r = 0.73, P less than 0.05). The insulin interpulse interval was the primary determinant of insulin sensitivity. The increased frequency of insulin pulses may play a role in inducing insulin resistance in individuals with abdominal fat distribution.