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Percentile curves are derived to serve as a reference standard for the maximum thigh circumference (TC) of children aged 0-5 years. A sample of 1,080 economically-favored children from the Boston area and from New Haven, Connecticut, were used for the derivation. Tests for sex differences and of the usefulness of TC for identifying malnutrition also were conducted using measurements from low-income Filipino children. Thigh circumference differs from other anthropometric measurements in that a single standard appears applicable for both sexes. Boys and girls have the same average thigh girth over the preschool age range, although the girls have a thigh fatfold which averages 1.14 mm larger than that of the boys. TC proved slightly more consistent in identifying undernourished infants and young children than mid-upper arm circumference (MUAC). TC remains almost constant between 12-21 months, during which period the average thigh fatfold decreases by almost two mm. This decrease suggests that the thigh serves as a storage depot of fat which is used for energy during a period of low appetite and relatively high energy expenditure when the child is learning to walk.