In this paper we investigate first the choice of an appropriate index of body mass. The traditional indices weight/height (W/H), W/H2 and W/H3 are compared, as well as an approach due to Cole (1986) making the index W/Hp age-dependent, i.e. by allowing the power p to depend on age. While there may be no perfect index reflecting over- and underweight--irrespective of height and width--the Quetelet index W/H2 turned out to be a reasonable index from childhood to adulthood. Second, we study the development of the body mass index W/H2 longitudinally from birth onwards, based on structural average distance, velocity and acceleration curves. As a third topic, transformations for obtaining an approximate normal distribution for W/H2, weight and skinfolds are compared. The usual log-transformation turned out to be unsatisfactory. While for height and arm skinfolds a transformation -1/square root of x performs rather well across age and sex, a transformation -1/x is more appropriate for trunk skinfolds and W/H2.