Between 1984 and 1987, adult height, sitting height, arm span, and iliac crest height were measured in 13,386 women of the DOM project. Combined effects of secular trends between cohorts born in 1911 to 1945 and aging between ages 40 to 74 years showed a decrease in stature of 4.9 +/- 0.3 cm (mean +/- standard error of mean) and in sitting height of 3.9 +/- 0.2 cm. Height and sitting height diminished but no effect of aging on arm span was found in 380 women measured again after 5 years. When arm span and iliac crest height did not change with age, they reflected a secular trend (1.6 +/- 0.3 cm and 0.5 +/- 0.3 cm). This implies an age-related decline in stature of -3 cm in 35 years.