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We used principal components analysis of five skinfold measurements to determine 1) The statistical components of body fat topography in an adult population, 2) The relation of these to age and obesity levels and 3) The relationship of body fat topography to aerobic fitness in Canadians. Three components of fat topography were identified: a component of centralized fatness and another two of upper and lower body variations. All three increase with age in both men and women, that is, older Canadians have their fat more centrally located and more on the upper body than younger adults do. The component of centralized fatness is positively related to the body mass index (wt/stature2) in most all age/sex groups, and the centralized obese tend to have less overall subcutaneous fat than the gener­alized (peripheral) obese. These observations taken together suggest that this type of obesity may be due to enlarged intra-abdominal fat deposits. Reduced aerobic capacity is mainly dependent on fatness level measured as the mean of skinfold measurements. A centralized distribution of sub­cutaneous fat is also associated with decreased aerobic capacity in men, but not in women.