Objective: To document the distribution of body mass index (BMI) in Holland in 1980 when obesity was uncommon.
Design: Nationally representative growth survey.
Subjects: Forty-one-thousand boys and girls age 0-20 years.
Method: BMI centiles based on the original height and weight data were derived using the LMS method.
Results: Median BMI showed the familiar pattern of a rise in the first year, followed by a fall, then a second rise after 6 years. The level of overweight was less than for children from the USA, France and Norway measured at the same time or earlier.
Conclusions: Dutch children in 1980 were relatively free of obesity, so the BMI centiles are a suitable baseline to monitor international trends in obesity since then.