Metabolic and hemodynamic abnormalities have been separately described in obesity, and weight reduction is known to lead to some improvement in each. Our aim was to simultaneously assess metabolic and cardiovascular function in normotensive, normotolerant patients with moderate obesity (body mass index = 32.6 +/- 1.1 kg/m2) before and after weight loss. The obese were insulin resistant [37.4 +/- 4.8 mumol/min.kg FFM; P < 0.02 vs. 12 lean controls (50.6 +/- 2.6), on a euglycemic insulin clamp], secreted more insulin both in the fasting state and after oral glucose (70 +/- 10 vs. 48 +/- 6 nmol/mmol.L plasma glucose; P < 0.05), and had higher resting energy expenditure (4.62 +/- 0.18 vs. 4.00 +/- 0.23 kJ/min), systolic and mean blood pressure, stroke volume (87 +/- 8 vs. 67 +/- 4 mL/min; P = 0.05), and cardiac output. There was, however, no relationship between the metabolic and hemodynamic abnormalities. After a weight loss of 11 +/- 1 kg (approximately 15%), insulin sensitivity improved in proportion to the weight reduction, whereas insulin hypersecretion and high energy expenditure persisted. In contrast, all hemodynamic changes reverted to normal. We conclude that in moderate obesity, the metabolic and cardiovascular abnormalities are largely independent of one another; accordingly, weight loss affects them differentially. Partial weight normalization may provide sufficient cardiovascular protection.