Lumbar spine bone mass was measured by dual photon absorptiometry (DPA) in 236 subjects aged between 3 and 30 years. Expected values of bone mineral density (BMD) and bone mass (BMC) for the lumbar vertebrae L2 to L4 were derived as a function of age, by non-linear regression analysis. The selected regression equation was the sum of two logistic expressions, one of which was assigned to growth at the time of puberty and the other to the slower long term component of growth. Growth during puberty contributed about 50% of peak bone mass in females, while in males this contribution was closer to 15%. No increase was found in lumbar spine bone mass in females after puberty.