Changes in the relative proportions of bone, muscle, water, visceral tissues, and body fat occur during growth. In the 1980s, reference models of body composition for children and adolescents were constructed by adjusting data on total body water (TBW), total body potassium (TBK), and regional bone mineral (BMC) data from several different Caucasian populations. In our study, we measured TBW, TBK, and total body BMC in 856 healthy European-American, African-American, and Mexican-American children. When we reconstructed the reference models using our contemporary data, we found that the body's bone, protein, and fat compartments are slightly but significantly different from the earlier models. Our study provides the range of normal body composition of healthy children, aged 5-18 years, and accounts for differences related to gender and ethnicity.