Stature, sitting height, estimated leg (subischial) length and the sitting height/stature ratio are compared in Mexican American, American White and American Black boys 9 through 14 years of age and girls 12 through 17 years of age. Mexican American youth are shorter in stature and have absolutely shorter lower extremities. The sitting height of Mexican American youth is similar to that of Black youth and shorter than that of White youth. The sitting height/stature ratio is virtually identical in Mexican American and White youth, indicating similar proportions of lower extremities to stature. In contrast, Black youth have absolutely and relatively longer lower extremities than Mexican American and White youth. These results would thus seem to suggest that reference data for the body mass index (BMI) based on American White youth can be used with Mexican American youth, while race-specific values may be necessary for American Black youth. However, ethnic variation in physique, perhaps frame size, may be a factor which should be more systematically considered in evaluating the utility of the body mass index.