OBJECTIVE: To determine the relationship between body composition/fat distribution and parity after adjusting for potential confounders: age, smoking, and physical activity. DESIGN: Cross-sectional. SUBJECTS: A total of 170 Caucasian women between the ages of 18 and 76 years, who were non-smokers with no cardiovascular disease, diabetes, metabolic, or endocrine disorders. MEASUREMENTS: Physical activity assessment (Baecke Physical Activity Questionnaire), anthropometric measures, and body composition (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, computed tomography). RESULTS: Although percent body fat was related to parity (r=0.26, P<0.01), after adjusting for age, physical activity index, and smoking, the parity-percent body fat relationship was no longer significant. Multiple regression analysis for modeling intra-abdominal adipose tissue demonstrated that parity and intra-abdominal adipose tissue were significantly related after adjusting for percent body fat, physical activity index, and smoking (partial r=0.18, P=0.02, unstandardized beta=5.22+/-2.26, intercept=-37.32+/-24.63). CONCLUSION: Our data suggest that intra-abdominal adipose tissue increases with increasing parity, even after adjusting for potential confounders: age, percent body fat, physical activity, and smoking.