Because African-American girls are heavier, taller, and mature earlier than Caucasian girls, we hypothesized that the serum leptin concentration differs between the two groups. Serum leptin concentrations were measured by immunoassay in 12-h fasted blood samples collected from 79 Caucasian and 57 African-American girls between 8 and 17 yr of age. Body composition was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, sexual maturity by physical examination, and physical fitness by treadmill testing. Serum leptin concentrations were positively correlated (P < 0.01) with maturation, body fatness, and insulin and were higher (6.6 ng/mL, P < 0.01) in the African-American girls after adjusting for age. The difference remained significant (P < 0.01) but was reduced to 3.2 ng/mL after controlling for differences in maturation, fat mass, and physical fitness. The higher serum leptin levels might play an important role in the accelerated growth and sexual maturation of African-American girls.