Skinfold thicknessess (SFT) were measured at ulnar, triceps, subscapular and suprailiac sites in 730 boys and 724 girls (age 3–12 years) whose stature ranged from 100 to 150 cm and whose weight was within ±20% of the average. Means and standard deviation (SD) were calculated after logarithmic transformation of the original skinfold readings to demonstrate stature-based standards of SFT in Japanese children. The means of SFT exhibited nadirs (boys/ girls: ulnar 5.1/5.9 mm, triceps 7.9/9.5 mm, subscapular 4.9/6.1 mm, suprailiac 4.5/6.2 mm) in subjects 110–115 cm tall except for ulnar SFT in girls. SFT values increased as children increased in stature. Standard deviations of SFT at the four sites in short children (staturte < mean −1 SD) were estimated using the stature-based standard as well as an age-based standard. Susms of the SDs assessed by the age-based standard were significantly smaller than those assessed by the stature-based standard in boys (P < 0.05) and girls (P < 0.01) with short stature, suggesting that SFT in short children was falsely understimated by the age-based standard. Thus, the stature-based standard is beneficial for the assessment of SFT, especially in children whose stature is below the mean −-1 SD. © 1995 Wiley-Liss, Inc.