The objective was to examine the effect of polyunsaturated fatty acid type (plant vs fish oil-derived n-3, compared to n-6 fatty acids in the presence of constant proportions of saturated, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids) on obesity, insulin resistance and tissue fatty acid composition in genetically obese rats. Six-week-old fa/fa and lean Zucker rats were fed with a 10% (w/w) mixed fat diet containing predominantly flax-seed, menhaden or safflower oils for 9 weeks. There was no effect of dietary lipid on obesity, oral glucose tolerance (except t=60min insulin), pancreatic function or molecular markers related to insulin, glucose and lipid metabolism, despite increased n-3 fatty acids in muscle and adipose tissue. The menhaden oil diet reduced fasting serum free fatty acids in both fa/fa and lean rats. These data suggest that n-3 composition does not alter obesity and insulin resistance in the fa/fa Zucker rat model when dietary lipid classes are balanced.