This paper describes data on bone mineral levels in the proximal femur of US adults based on the nationally representative sample examined during both phases of the third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III, 1988-94), and updates data previously presented from phase 1 only. The data were collected from 14,646 men and women aged 20 years and older using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, and included bone mineral density (BMD), bone mineral content (BMC) and area of bone scanned in four selected regions of interest (ROI) in the proximal femur: femur neck, trochanter, intertrochanter and total. These variables are provided separately by age and sex for non-Hispanic whites (NHW), non-Hispanic blacks (NHB) and Mexican Americans (MA). NHW in the southern United States had slightly lower BMD levels than NHW in other US regions, but these differences were not sufficiently large to prevent pooling of the data. The updated data provide valuable reference data on femur bone mineral levels of noninstitutionalized adults. The updated data on BMD for the total femur ROI of NHW have been selected as the reference database for femur standardization efforts by the International Committee on Standards in Bone Measurements.