Obesity is associated with insulin resistance and the resulting hyperinsulinemia has been attributed to an increase of insulin secretion and a reduction of insulin clearance. The present study was intended to further characterize the relative contribution of secretion and clearance especially in the postprandial state. In relation to WHO body weight classes 291 subjects were divided in 5 subgroups Basal insulin concentrations rose stepwise and significantly with increasing BMI. This was paralleled by C-peptide concentrations and insulin secretion, while the reduction of insulin clearance was less stringent in relation to BMI. Basal glucose was unchanged in the BMI25 group and 8% higher in the obese groups (BMI 30, 35, 40) compared to normal weight (NW). Although postprandial insulin concentrations were significantly higher in the overweight and obese groups compared to NW the correlation was not as tight as in the basal state. Furthermore, the present data demonstrate for the first time that insulin secretion only increased in the overweight group without further augmentation in the obese groups. Further hyperinsulinemia of the latter was due to weight-dependent reduction of insulin clearance. The postprandial glucose response was 38-82% higher with increasing weight compared to NW. In summary basal hyperinsulinemia is mainly due to weight related increase of insulin secretion with moderate contribution of reduced insulin clearance. Postprandially, hyperinsulinemia of overweight is predominantly due to secretion while further postprandial hyperinsulinemia of obese subjects is mainly due to reduced clearance. Thus, postprandial insulin secretion cannot respond adequately to the challenge of weight-dependent insulin resistance already in non-diabetic obese subjects.