The relationships between measurements of body composition and fasting serum high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) were assessed in 357 men aged 30 to 59 years. The sum of six skinfolds (triceps, biceps, subscapular, suprailiac, abdominal and medial calf), body density through underwater body weighing, lean body mass (kg), body-fat mass, and percent body fat, all three derived from the Siri equation, were obtained. Effects of age, sex, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, socioeconomic status, triglycerides, total cholesterol and current energy expenditure were statistically removed through multiple regression procedures. HDL-C was significantly associated with weight, weight/height, weight/height11, weight/height16, body density, body-fat mass, sum of six skinfolds, but not with height alone or lean body mass. These results suggest that, among the body composition measurements, the adipose component is the major contributor to the low but significant association between HDL-C and weight.