Obesity caused by overeating plays a pivotal role in the development of type 2 diabetes. However, it remains poorly understood how individual meal size differences are determined before the development of obesity. Here, we investigated the underlying mechanisms in determining spontaneous food intake in newly established Oikawa-Nagao Diabetes-Prone (ON-DP) and Diabetes-Resistant (ON-DR) mice.Food intake and metabolic phenotypes of ON-DP and ON-DR mice under high-fat-diet feeding were compared from 5 weeks to 10 weeks of age. Differences in leptin status at 5 weeks of age were assessed between the two mouse lines. Adipose tissue explant culture was also performed to evaluate leptin production capacity in vitro.ON-DP mice showed spontaneous overfeeding compared with ON-DR mice. Excessive body weight gain and fat accumulation in ON-DP mice were completely suppressed to the levels seen in ON-DR mice by pair-feeding with ON-DR mice. Deterioration of glucose tolerance in ON-DP mice was also ameliorated under the pair-feeding conditions. While no differences were seen in body weight and adipose tissue mass when comparing the two mouse lines at 5 weeks of age, the ON-DP mice had lower plasma leptin concentrations and adipose tissue leptin gene expression levels. In accordance with peripheral leptin status, ON-DP mice displayed lower anorexigenic leptin signalling in the hypothalamic arcuate nucleus when compared with ON-DR mice without apparent leptin resistance. Explant culture studies revealed that ON-DP mice had lower leptin production capacity in adipose tissue. ON-DP mice also displayed higher DNA methylation levels in the leptin gene promoter region of adipocytes when compared with ON-DR mice.The results suggest that heritable lower leptin production capacity plays a critical role in overfeeding-induced obesity and subsequent deterioration of glucose tolerance in ON-DP mice. Leptin production capacity in adipocytes, especially before the development of obesity, may have diagnostic potential for predicting individual risk of obesity caused by overeating and future onset of type 2 diabetes. Graphical abstract.