OBJECTIVE: Leptin is thought to play a key role in the control of body weight. There is a complex interrelationship between leptin and insulin or insulin resistance, but it is unknown how leptin is regulated. We therefore explored, in a large population-based study of 2,484 Caucasian subjects aged 50-74 years, the relationship between leptin and variables of body adiposity, energy balance, and insulin resistance. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS: Leptin was measured by means of a radioimmunoassay. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed with leptin as dependent variable and age, sex, BMI, waist circumference, daily energy intake, physical activity, smoking, hypertension, fasting triglyceride concentrations, HDL cholesterol, fasting plasma glucose, and fasting plasma insulin concentrations as independent variables (determinants) RESULTS: Leptin concentrations were found to be four times higher in women than in men. Effect modification between sex and potential determinants was expected, and the analyses were performed separately for women and men. BMI was the strongest determinant of leptin in women and waist circumference the strongest determinant in men. BMI, waist circumference, insulin, and triglyceride concentrations were independently and significantly (P < 0.05) associated with leptin, while inverse associations were shown for smoking and daily energy intake (borderline significance). CONCLUSIONS: This study confirms the relationship between insulin and leptin and, in addition, suggests a relationship between triglyceride concentrations and leptin independent of sex, BMI, waist circumference, and insulin.