Background and Aims: During positive energy balance, excess lipid storage in subcutaneous adipose tissue (SAT) is associated with increased lipolysis. Elevated circulating fatty acid (FA) concentrations from both SAT lipolysis and dietary fat intake may result in visceral adipose tissue (VAT) accumulation, impairment of glucose metabolism, altogether increasing obesity-associated metabolic risks. We aimed to test the hypothesis that FA composition of red blood cell total phospholipids (RBC-TPL) and SAT is associated with body fat centralisation (VAT/SAT ratio) and insulin sensitivity (S-I) in black South African women with obesity. Methods: Participants' (n= 41) body fat composition and distribution, S-I, and RBC-TPL, abdominal and gluteal SAT (gSAT) FA composition (gas-liquid chromatography) were measured. Results: RBC-TPL contained higher proportions of saturated fatty acids (SFAs) than SAT (p< 0.001), which were associated with lower S-I(p< 0.05). Mono-unsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs) and stearoyl-CoA desaturase-1 (SCD1)-16 were lower, while poly-unsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), and delta-5 and delta-6 desaturase indices were higher in RBC-TPL than SAT (p< 0.001). Interestingly, FA profiles differed between SAT depots with higher SFAs and lower MUFAs, SCD1-16 and SCD1-18 indices in abdominal compared to gluteal SAT (p< 0.01). In both SAT depots, higher SFAs and lower PUFAs (n-3 and n-6) correlated with lower VAT/SAT ratio; and lower PUFAs (n-3 and n-6) and higher total MUFA correlated with higher S-I. Conclusion: Our findings confirm the relationships between the FA composition of RBC-TPL and SAT and metabolic risk in black women with obesity, which are dependent on both the FA class, and the tissue type/blood compartment in which they are distributed.