Increasing incidence of cardiovascular disease in traditionally low-risk Alaskan Eskimos is a cause for concern. The purpose of this study was to examine the genetic and environmental correlations of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) subfractions with obesity-related factors in Alaskan Eskimos, using data from the first 954 participants of the Genetics of Coronary Artery Disease in Alaska Natives Study. Estimates of genetic and environmental influence were calculated using a maximum likelihood variance component method implemented in SOLAR. Mean values of weight, body mass index (BMI), and waist were 73.4 +/- 0.5 kg, 27.6 +/- 0.2 kg/m2, and 88.0 +/- 0.4 cm, respectively. LDL, and its small (LDL1), medium (LDL2), and large (LDL3) subfractions, had mean values of 115.8 +/- 1.2 mg/dl, 8.3 +/- 0.4 mg/dl, 19.6 +/- 0.8 mg/dl, and 71.5 +/- 1.5 mg/dl, respectively. Bivariate analysis displayed significant genetic correlations between LDL subfractions and obesity-related factors: LDL1 with BMI (rhoG = 0.67, P < 0.05), waist (rhoG = 0.80, P < 0.001), and subscapular and tricep skinfolds (rhoG = 0.93, P < 0.005, and rhoG = 0.78, P < 0.05, respectively); LDL2 with BMI (rhoG = 0.52, P < 0.05), waist (rhoG = 0.46, P < 0.05), and tricep skinfold (rhoG = 0.60, P < 0.05); and mean LDL size with BMI (rhoG = -0.36), waist (rhoG = -0.42,), and subscapular and tricep skinfolds (rhoG = -0.44 and -0.43, respectively) (P < 0.005). These results show that a common set of genes is influencing LDL size and obesity-related factors in Alaskan Eskimos.