OBJECTIVE: Recent reports suggest that ghrelin regulation may differ by ethnicity and age. This study was designed to examine circulating ghrelin among overweight female African Americans across different age groups. METHODS: Eleven overweight peripubertal girls, 17 overweight pubertal girls, and a control group of 18 overweight African-American premenopausal women ingested a standard liquid meal after an overnight fast. Blood samples were obtained before the meal and for 4 h postchallenge. Participants rated appetite by a visual analog scale. RESULTS: Peripubertal girls demonstrated higher postprandial ghrelin and lesser ghrelin suppression compared with adults (p < 0.05), corresponding with greater desire to eat across the test period (p = 0.017). Fasting ghrelin tended to be inversely related to fasting estradiol (r = -0.264, p = 0.076). CONCLUSION: Compared with overweight African-American women, peripubertal girls had higher ghrelin as well as greater appetite after a standard meal. These results may suggest a dysregulation in ghrelin reflective of demands of growth.