The aim of this study was to characterize the association between serum insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) and obesity, as well as fat distribution, before and during moderate energy restriction (1,200 kcal/d). In 51 females and nine males having a body mass index (BMI) between 27 and 39 kg/m2, relationships between serum IGF-1, IGF-binding protein-3 (IGFBP-3), insulin, growth hormone (GH), blood glucose, and anthropometric measurements of body fat were examined. The patients were studied before treatment and again after 8 and 16 weeks of dieting. Visceral adipose tissue (AT) was estimated by anthropometric computed tomography (CT)-calibrated equations. In females, IGF-1 was inversely associated with the abdominal sagittal diameter (SagD) and with the visceral AT (r = -.41, P = .006). No significant correlations were found between IGF-1 and BMI or other indices of adiposity. Weight loss caused a temporary increase in IGF-1 concentrations (P = .03) and continued decrements in blood glucose levels (P = .0004 at 16 weeks). A statistically significant inverse correlation between IGF-1 and blood glucose levels was present before (r = -.30, P = .02) and after 8 (r = -.37, P = .007) and 16 (r = .02, P = .02) weeks of dietary treatment. Both serum IGF-1 and insulin levels were positively correlated with serum IGFBP-3 levels (r = .34, P = .009 and r = .34, P = .008, respectively). We conclude that IGF-1 levels in obese females reflect the intraabdominal fat mass rather than obesity per se. IGF-1 and blood glucose levels are inversely correlated in obesity before and during energy restriction.