The relationship between dietary fat intake, adiposity and regional subcutaneous fat distribution was studied in 344 men and 335 women (aged 35-55 years). Three-day food records were used to estimate total energy intake (EI) and percent intake of all macronutrients. Subjects were categorized as having an EI that was low (lower quantile) or high (upper quantile) in fat. Results showed that both men and women with a higher percent of EI in the form of fat weighed significantly (P less than 0.05) more, and had higher subcutaneous adiposity indices than subjects with a low fat intake. There was also a significant difference for both sexes between low and high fat intake groups in trunk and extremity skinfolds and trunk/extremity skinfolds ratio adjusted for the sum of skinfolds. However, this effect was not present when correlations between percent fat intake and body composition or regional fat distribution variables adjusted for total fat intake per unit of body mass were computed. These results suggest that a greater EI in the form of fat influences total adiposity, as well as regional subcutaneous fat distribution, only when high fat consumers are compared to low fat consumers.