Adipose tissue lipoprotein lipase (LPL) activity was determined in the abdominal and femoral regions in 25 pre- and 25 post-menopausal obese women, matched for body mass index and fat distribution. LPL activity was not different in pre- and post-menopausal women. Regional differences of the same magnitude were observed in pre- and post-menopausal women with femoral obesity. Such differences were not found in women with abdominal obesity either pre- or post-menopausal. Furthermore the abdominal/femoral ratio of LPL activity was positively correlated (P less than 0.05) to waist/hip ratio, independently of age, body mass index, fat cell size ratio and menopausal status. These data indicate that in obese women the regional differences in LPL activity are related to body fat distribution. The menopausal status does not seem to be a sufficient and necessary condition to abolish the typical female regional differences in LPL activity in adipose tissue from obese women.