To determine changes in bone density during growth, trabecular vertebral density and an index of spinal cortical bone were measured with quantitative computed tomography in 101 children. The children were divided by age into three groups: prepubertal, indeterminate, and pubertal. Compared with prepubertal children, pubertal adolescents had significantly higher trabecular bone density and more compact bone in the spine (P less than .001). After controlling for puberty, vertebral bone density failed to correlate significantly with age, sex, weight, height, surface area, and body mass index. The results indicate that bone density increases markedly during puberty.