The effects were investigated of weight loss on the relationship between hyperinsulinemia, body weight and body fat distribution in two groups of women with central-type obesity (CTO) (waist-to-hip ratio WHR greater than 0.85) or peripheral-type obesity (PTO) (WHR less than 0.85). An oral glucose tolerance test was carried out before and after a hypocaloric nutritional treatment lasting 4 months. Both groups were matched for age, body mass index and amount of body fat. At the basal condition, group CTO had fasting and glucose-stimulated insulin levels significantly higher than group PTO; fasting (but not stimulated) C peptide levels were also higher in CTO compared with PTO. Weight and fat loss were significantly higher in CTO than in PTO women. Moreover, unlike PTO, CTO subjects significantly reduced their WHR values. In both groups weight loss led to a significant drop in fasting and glucose-stimulated insulin and C peptide levels. However, PTO women reduced their C peptide levels significantly less than CTO. In conclusion, weight loss only modified body fat distribution in women with CTO, who appeared to be prone to a greater weight loss than the PTO women. Compared to PTO, CTO women were characterized by higher insulin levels and peripheral insulin resistance, which improved during hypocaloric feeding probably due to the combined effect of weight loss and the change in body fat distribution.