It is well established that abdominal obesity or upper body fat distribution is associated with increased risk of metabolic and cardiovascular disease. The purpose of the present study was to determine if a 24 week weight loss program with orlistat 60 mg in overweight subjects would produce a greater change in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) as measured by computed tomography (CT) scan, compared to placebo. The effects of orlistat 60 mg on changes in total fat mass (EchoMRI-AH and BIA), ectopic fat (CT) and glycemic variables were assessed. One-hundred thirty-one subjects were randomized into a multicenter, double-blind placebo controlled study in which 123 subjects received at least one post baseline efficacy measurement (intent-to-treat population). Both orlistat-and placebo-treated subjects significantly decreased their VAT at 24 weeks with a significantly greater loss of VAT by orlistat treated subjects (-15.7% vs. -9.4%, P < 0.05). In addition, orlistat-treated subjects had significantly greater weight loss (-5.93 kg vs. -3.94 kg, P < 0.05), total fat mass loss (-4.65 kg vs. -3.01 kg, P < 0.05) and trended to a greater loss of intermuscular adipose tissue and content of liver fat compared with placebo-treated subjects. This is the first study to demonstrate that orlistat 60 mg significantly reduces VAT in addition to total body fat compared to placebo treated subjects after a 24 week weight loss program. These results suggest that orlistat 60 mg may be an effective weight loss tool to reduce metabolic risk factors associated with abdominal obesity.