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The development of the body mass index (BMI, weight/ height2) during young adulthood was studied in 518 men and 624 women, initially 19-21, 24-26, 29-31 years of age, in a four-year mixed-longitudinal study in the Netherlands. Body height and body weight were measured in spring 1980. Subsequently, body weight was measured every six months from spring 1981 through spring 1984. The BMI continued to increase after the termination of growth. From 19 to 35 years of age the median BMI increased from 22.1kg/m2 to 24.4kg/m2 in men and from 21.1kg/m2 to 23.0kg/m2 in women. All percentiles showed a comparable increment, resulting in an age-independent variation of the BMI. Since the NHANES I curves diverge with age, it is suggested that American and Dutch samples not only differ in the prevalence of overweight, but also in the incidence of overweight during young adulthood.