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The role of maturation in the acquisition of a centripetal fat pattern was studied in a cross-sectional sample of 5,012 white subjects aged 1 to 17 years and 7,974 white females aged 20 to 74 years and derived from the Health and Nutritional Examination Survey I. Based on assessments of bone age and age at menarche, the subjects were classified into early maturing (bone age greater than the 85th age- and sex- specific percentile for bone age or age at menarche) and late maturing (bone age less than the 15th age- and sex-specific percentile for bone age or age at menarche) groups. The present findings indicate that advanced maturation is associated with an accentuation of the centripetal distribution of subcutaneous fat.