The relative impacts of regional and generalized adiposity on insulin sensitivity have not been fully defined. Therefore, we investigated the relationship of insulin sensitivity (measured using hyperinsulinemic, euglycemic clamp technique with [3-3H]glucose turnover) to total body adiposity (determined by hydrodensitometry) and regional adiposity. The latter was assessed by determining subcutaneous abdominal, intraperitoneal, and retroperitoneal fat masses (using magnetic resonance imaging) and the sum of truncal and peripheral skinfold thicknesses. 39 healthy middle-aged men with a wide range of adiposity were studied. Overall, the intraperitoneal and retroperitoneal fat constituted only 11 and 7% of the total body fat. Glucose disposal rate (Rd) and residual hepatic glucose output (rHGO) values during the 40 mU/m2.min insulin infusion correlated significantly with total body fat (r = -0.61 and 0.50, respectively), subcutaneous abdominal fat (r = -0.62 and 0.50, respectively), sum of truncal skinfold thickness (r = -0.72 and 0.57, respectively), and intraperitoneal fat (r = -0.51 and 0.44, respectively) but not to retroperitoneal fat. After adjusting for total body fat, the Rd and rHGO values showed the highest correlation with the sum of truncal skinfold thickness (partial r = -0.40 and 0.33, respectively). We conclude that subcutaneous truncal fat plays a major role in obesity-related insulin resistance in men, whereas intraperitoneal fat and retroperitoneal fat have a lesser role.