BACKGROUND: Cord blood adiponectin and leptin concentrations are associated with birth weight and adiposity. Birth size and rate of infant weight gain are associated with future obesity risk. However, it is unclear whether biomarkers reflecting the intrauterine environment are predictive of infant prospective body composition change. OBJECTIVES: To examine whether cord blood adiponectin and leptin are predictive of neonatal adiposity and fat mass (FM) accrual to 3 months of age. METHODS: Participants (n = 36) were healthy African American infants. Leptin and adiponectin concentrations were measured in umbilical cord blood. At 2 weeks and 3 months, infant body composition was assessed via air displacement plethysmography. Weight-for-length z-scores (WLZ) were calculated using World Health Organization standards. Multiple linear regression was used to examine associations of cord blood adiponectin and leptin with birth WLZ; WLZ, FM and fat-free mass at 2 weeks, and the conditional change in these variables from 2 weeks to 3 months (body composition at 3 months adjusted for body composition at 2 weeks). RESULTS: Adiponectin was positively associated with FM at 2 weeks (r = 0.45, P < 0.01), but inversely associated with conditional FM change from 2 weeks to 3 months of age (r = -0.38, P < 0.05). Leptin was not significantly associated with infant body composition. CONCLUSIONS: Adiponectin may be a marker for FM accrual in African American infants, a relatively understudied population with a high long-term obesity risk. Mechanistic studies are needed to determine whether adiponectin directly influences infant growth or is simply a maker reflective of other ongoing biological changes after birth.