The lipid and apolipoprotein profiles in plasma and the nutritional intake were investigated in 25 female elite gymnasts, 23 recreational gymnasts, 21 girl swimmers, and 16 controls. The girls were matched for sexual development, assessed by means of breast development. The age of the girls varied from 10.0 to 15.0 years. The recreational gymnasts and the girl swimmers had the highest levels of HDL-C, while those of the elite gymnasts and the controls were equally low (P less than or equal to 0.05). The same trend was seen in the case of the HDL-C/TC, HDL-C/LDL-C, and HDL-C/apo A-I ratios (P less than or equal to 0.05). The swimmers and the controls had similar high levels of apo A-I, and the swimmers also had a low apo B level. The differences with the elite group reached statistical significance (P less than or equal to 0.05). The recreational gymnasts had a lower level of apo E than the elite gymnasts and the swimmers had (P less than or equal to 0.05). The composition of the diet, expressed in energy %, was similar for all groups. The recreational gymnasts had a higher P/S ratio than the controls. It is concluded that the differences in lipid and apolipoprotein profiles found between young, female athletes and controls are not associated with differences in dietary intake and may be due to differences in physical activity. Also, genetic factors may have contributed to the variation found in the mentioned profiles. Yet, in this pediatric population, the nutritional intake played a small but significant role relative to the plasma lipids and apolipoproteins.