ABSTRACT: Modernization and migration have biological as well as social effects on people. In this study, 2657 Samoan adults from Western Samoa, American Samoa and Hawaii were surveyed in an attempt to examine the relationships between modernization, migration and obesity. The Samoan men showed an increase in the frequency of obesity with increasing modernity of residence or occupation. While the women in American Samoa had the highest frequency of obesity of any subsample, Samoan women also demonstrated a pattern of higher adiposity in more modern jobs. Young women tended to show a negative relationship between obesity frequency and education, with college-educated women having the lowest average levels of adiposity. Time since migration to Hawaii was not found to exert a major effect on frequency of obesity.