Background and Aims: Leptin and dyslipidemia are risk factors for cardiovascular disease. We measured leptin and lipid levels, and examined whether there is an effect of leptin on lipid profile in marasmic children. Methods: Fifty children (25 marasmic, 25 healthy) aged between 0.3 and 2.5 years were evaluated. Leptin levels were compared with lipid profile in marasmic and healthy children. The relationships between leptin and sex, body mass index and lipid profile were investigated in marasmic children. Results: In the marasmic group, body mass index, leptin, total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower (p < 0.0001, p < 0.0001, p < 0.0001, p = 0.01, respectively), and triglyceride levels higher than in the control group. In females, leptin was correlated positively with high-density lipoprotein cholesterol ( p = 0.002), and inversely correlated with the triglyceride level ( p = 0.003). In males, a positive correlation was found between leptin and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (p = 0.026). In female patients, body mass index, leptin and high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower (p < 0.0001, for all) when compared to their female controls. In male patients, body mass index, leptin, high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels were lower (p < 0.0001, p = 0.031, p = 0.002, p = 0.017, respectively) than those in their male controls. Conclusion: As a result, we found low leptin ( an independent cardiovascular risk factor) levels, but dyslipidemia in our marasmic patients. Dyslipidemia may be a risk factor for cardiovascular complications in marasmic children in the future. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.