We studied the kinetics of exogenous recombinant 22-kDa human growth hormone (rhGH) in premenopausal women with upper body obesity (UBO), lower body obesity (LBO), or normal body weight. A bolus of 100 mU rhGH was administered during a continuous infusion of somatostatin to suppress endogenous GH secretion. GH kinetics were investigated with noncompartmental analysis of plasma GH curves. GH peak values in response to GH infusion and plasma half-life of GH were not significantly different between normal weight and obese subjects. In contrast, GH clearance was 33% higher in LBO women and 51% higher in UBO women compared with clearance in normal weight controls. The difference in clearance between LBO and UBO was not statistically significant. Altered GH clearance characteristics contribute to low circulating GH levels in obese humans. Body fat distribution does not appear to affect GH kinetics.