Objective:We have recently reported that parous European-American (EA) women have disproportionately more intra-abdominal adipose tissue (IAAT) than their nulliparous counterparts. Mediating mechanisms for IAAT accumulation remain unknown; however, some evidence suggests a possible catecholamine link. The objective of this study was to determine whether the IAAT-parity relationship found in EA women exists in African-American (AA) women and to determine whether catecholamines play a mediating role.Methods and Procedures:Subjects included 44 EA and 47 AA premenopausal women. Free-living physical activity by doubly labeled water (activity-related time equivalent (ARTE)), body composition (air plethysmography, computed tomography), and 24-h fractionated urinary catecholamines were measured.Results:Repeated measures ANOVA revealed parous EA and AA women had significantly higher IAAT than their nulliparous counterparts (100.1 ± 28.5 and 76.2 ± 34.8 cm 2 vs. 75.9 ± 29.1 and 59.6 ± 15.0 cm2). In AA women and nulliparous women, 24-h urinary dopamine was significantly higher (AA parous 260.8 ± 88; EA parous 197.2 ± 78.8; AA nulliparous 376.5 ± 81; EA nulliparous 289.6 ± 62). Multiple regression analysis for modeling IAAT indicated that race, parity, dopamine, ARTE, and VO(2max) were all significant and independent contributors to the model (Unstandardized Βs: race -32.6 ± 7.4; parity (number of births) 10.0 ± 3.4; 24-h urinary dopamine 0.08 ± 0.04; ARTE (min/day) -0.09 ± 0.04; VO(2max) (ml/kg/min) -2.8 ± 1.0).Discussion:Independent of the potential confounders: age, race, percent body fat, IAAT, 24-h fractionated urinary catecholamines, physical activity, and VO(2max), parous EA and AA women had more IAAT than their nulliparous counterparts. Of the catecholamines, dopamine was found to be significantly lower in parous women and higher in AA's. Dopamine, however, did not explain racial or parity differences in IAAT. © 2008 The Obesity Society.