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Upper arm anthropometric measurements (mid-arm circumference, and triceps) were collected on newly arrived immigrant and refugee school-aged children in San Francisco. The measurements were repeated at three-month intervals for a period of 18 months. Four ethnic groups were studied: Chinese, Southeast Asian, Filipino and Hispanic. When the ethnic samples were compared to U.S. standards, the Southeast Asian, Chinese, and Filipino immigrant children were consistently below the 50th percentiles of U.S. standards for arm circumference, triceps skinfold, arm fat and arm muscle areas. Hispanic children were consistently at or above the 50th percentile for these same measurements. The immigrant children had relatively larger arm muscle areas than arm fat areas. The results suggest differences in nutritional status between the ethnic groups.