Insulin sensitivity and pancreatic responsivity are the two main factors controlling glucose tolerance. We have proposed a method for measuring these two factors, using computer analysis of a frequently-sampled intravenous glucose tolerance test (FSIGT). This 'minimal modelling approach' fits two mathematical models with FSIGT glucose and insulin data: one of glucose disappearance and one of insulin kinetics. MINMOD is the computer program which identifies the model parameters for each individual. A nonlinear least squares estimation technique is used, employing a gradient-type of estimation algorithm, and the first derivatives (not known analytically) are computed according to the 'sensitivity approach'. The program yields the parameter estimates and the precision of their estimation. From the model parameters, it is possible to extract four indices: SG, the ability of glucose per se to enhance its own disappearance at basal insulin, SI, the tissue insulin sensitivity index, phi 1, first phase pancreatic responsivity, and phi 2, second phase pancreatic responsivity. These four characteristic parameters have been shown to represent an integrated metabolic portrait of a single individual.