The exact mechanisms of the relationship between obesity and cardiovascular events are not yet fully understood; however, oxidative stress may be involved. Thus, the aim of the present study was to evaluate the effects of resveratrol and fish oil on catecholamine-induced mortality in obese rats. To begin with, rats were divided into five groups: (1) lean, (2) obese, (3) obese supplemented with resveratrol, (4) obese supplemented with fish oil and (5) obese supplemented with resveratrol and fish oil (n 18 rats per group), for 2 months. After supplementation, the groups were subdivided as with (n 10) and without (n 8) cardiovascular catecholaminergic stress after isoproterenol (60 mg/kg) injection. At 24 h later, the survival rate was analysed. The obese group showed lower survival rates (10 %) when compared with the lean group (70 %). On the other hand, resveratrol (50 %) and fish oil (40 %) increased the survival rate of obese rats (χ2 test, P= 0·019). Biochemical analyses of the myocardium and aorta revealed that obese rats had higher levels of superoxide and oxidative damage to lipids and protein. This was associated with reduced superoxide dismutase and glutathione peroxidase activity in both the myocardium and aorta. The supplementation increased antioxidant enzyme activities and reduced oxidative damage. We also evaluated the nuclear factor-erythroid 2 p45-related factor 2 (Nrf2)/Kelch-like ECH-associated protein 1 antioxidant pathway. Nrf2 protein levels that were reduced in obese rats were increased by the antioxidant treatment. Taken together, these results showed that resveratrol and fish oil reduce catecholamine-induced mortality in obese rats, partly through the reduction of oxidative stress.