Adiponectin, a novel adipokine with anti-inflammatory and insulin-sensitizing properties, has been found to have independent negative associations with obesity and hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance in adults. We measured fasting plasma adiponectin and insulin concentrations and body composition (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry or doubly labeled water) in 30 5-yr-old (11 boys and 19 girls) and 53 10-yr-old (17 boys and 36 girls) Pima Indian children. A subgroup of 20 children (5 boys and 15 girls) had all measurements at both 5 and 10 yr of age. Cross-sectionally, plasma adiponectin concentrations were negatively correlated with percentage body fat and fasting plasma insulin concentrations at both 5 yr (r = -0.35, P = 0.06, r = -0.42, P = 0.02) and 10 yr (r = -0.46, P = 0.001, r = -0.38, P = 0.005) of age. At age 10 yr, percentage body fat (P = 0.03) but not fasting plasma insulin (P = 0.59) was independently associated with fasting plasma adiponectin concentrations. Longitudinally, plasma adiponectin concentrations decreased with increasing adiposity. In summary, these results confirm our previously reported findings in adults of an inverse relationship between plasma adiponectin concentrations and adiposity in children. Longitudinal analyses indicated that hypoadiponectinemia is a consequence of the development of obesity in childhood. We did not find evidence that adiponectin is an early mediator of obesity-induced insulin resistance, a preliminary observation that needs to be confirmed in studies using a more direct measurement of insulin action than the one used in this investigation.