By means of a standardised procedure, reference values for scintigraphic gastric emptying were established. The influence of gender, age, menstrual cycle, body mass index (BMI) and smoking habits was also evaluated. Eight centres recruited 20 healthy subjects each. The meal consisted of a technetium-99m labelled omelet (1,300 kJ) and of 150 ml unlabelled soft drink. Geometric means of frontal and dorsal acquisitions were utilised in a linear fit model for determination of the linear emptying rate, and by using the intercepts of the regression line with the 90% and 50% levels, the lag phase and half-emptying time, respectively, were defined. All individuals showed an initial lag phase and subsequent linear emptying. Because of a longer lag phase and a slower linear emptying rate, premenopausal women had a slower gastric emptying than postmenopausal women and men of all ages. The gastric emptying rate increased with age in the women, mainly due to a shortened lag phase, while the emptying rate remained almost unchanged with age in the males. There were no significant differences in results between the centres. The menstrual cycle, BMI and smoking habits did not affect emptying. In conclusion, the fact that the results showed a slower gastric emptying rate in younger women compared with older women and men indicates that it is necessary to use separate reference values for fertile females.