To test the hypothesis that hyperlipidemia is characteristic of growth hormone deficiency in childhood, we have measured serum cholesterol and triglyceride concentrations in 24 euthyroid children with growth hormone deficiency. Although modest elevations of cholesterol and/or triglyceride above the 95th percentile for age, race, and sex were present in 46% of the children studied, the mean (+/- 1 SD) cholesterol of 173 +/- 36 mg/dl and the mean triglyceride of 80 +/- 42 mg/dl were not significantly different from published normal mean values. Administration of human growth hormone for 4 mo to 15 of these subjects did not alter these mean cholesterol and triglyceride values, but did result in a marked improvement in the growth rate. Some individuals (n = 6) with a subnormal growth response to therapy and/or a low serum thyroxine and high serum cholesterol were treated for an additional 4 mo with growth hormone and thyroid hormone together. There was a statistically significant decrement in serum cholesterol in this group. We conclude that modest hyperlipidemia does exist in some children with growth hormone deficiency. Subclinical hypothyroidism may play a role in the hypercholesterolemia of some children, as may growth hormone deficiency itself. Any association of growth hormone and lipid metabolism remains to be clarified.