In this study, we defined the role of peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor beta/delta (PPARdelta) in metabolic homeostasis by using subtype selective agonists. Analysis of rat L6 myotubes treated with the PPARdelta subtype-selective agonist, GW501516, by the Affymetrix oligonucleotide microarrays revealed that PPARdelta controls fatty acid oxidation by regulating genes involved in fatty acid transport, beta-oxidation, and mitochondrial respiration. Similar PPARdelta-mediated gene activation was observed in the skeletal muscle of GW501516-treated mice. Accordingly, GW501516 treatment induced fatty acid beta-oxidation in L6 myotubes as well as in mouse skeletal muscles. Administration of GW501516 to mice fed a high-fat diet ameliorated diet-induced obesity and insulin resistance, an effect accompanied by enhanced metabolic rate and fatty acid beta-oxidation, proliferation of mitochondria, and a marked reduction of lipid droplets in skeletal muscles. Despite a modest body weight change relative to vehicle-treated mice, GW501516 treatment also markedly improved diabetes as revealed by the decrease in plasma glucose and blood insulin levels in genetically obese ob/ob mice. These data suggest that PPARdelta is pivotal to control the program for fatty acid oxidation in the skeletal muscle, thereby ameliorating obesity and insulin resistance through its activation in obese animals.