Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) is a rapid and precise technique for the assessment of bone mineralization in children. Interpretation of the results in growing children is complex as results are influenced by age, body size (height and weight) and puberty. Conventionally, bone mineral data derived from DEXA have been presented as an areal density [BMD; bone mineral content (BMC, g)/projected bone area (BA, cm2)], yet this fails to account for changes in BMC that result from changes in age, body size or pubertal development. Measurement of BMC and BA of the whole body, lumbar spine and left hip were made in 58 healthy boys and girls using DEXA. The relationship between BMC and BA was curvilinear, with the best fit being that of a power model (BMD = BMC/BAlambda, where lambda is the exponent to which BA is raised in order to remove its influence on BMC). The value of lambda changed when measures of body size and puberty were taken into account (e.g. for lumbar spine from 1.66 to 1.49). Predictive formulae for BMC were produced using regression analysis and based on the variables of age, body size and pubertal development. This provides a method for interpreting the measured BMC which is independent of such variables and a constant reference range for children aged 6-18 y.