OBJECTIVE: Growth hormone (GH) affects linear growth and body composition, by increasing the secretion of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I), muscle protein synthesis and lipolysis. The intake of protein (PROT) as well as the specific amino acids arginine (ARG) and lysine (LYS) stimulates GH/IGF-I secretion. The present paper aimed to investigate associations between PROT intake as well as intake of the specific amino acids ARG and LYS, and subsequent 3-year-change in linear growth and body composition among 6-year-old children. DESIGN: Children's data were collected from Copenhagen (Denmark), during 2001-2002, and again 3 years later. Boys and girls were separated into normal weight and overweight, based on BMI quintiles. Fat-free mass index (FFMI) and fat mass index (FMI) were calculated. Associations between change (Delta) in height, FMI and FFMI, respectively, and habitual PROT intake as well as ARG and LYS were analysed by multiple linear regressions, adjusted for baseline height, FMI or FFMI and energy intake, age, physical activity and socio-economic status. SETTING: Eighteen schools in two suburban communities in the Copenhagen (Denmark) area participated in the study. SUBJECTS: In all, 223 children's data were collected for the present study. RESULTS: High ARG intake was associated with linear growth (beta = 1.09 (se 0.54), P = 0.05) among girls. Furthermore, in girls, DeltaFMI had a stronger inverse association with high ARG intake, if it was combined with high LYS intake, instead of low LYS intake (P = 0.03). No associations were found in boys.ConclusionIn prepubertal girls, linear growth may be influenced by habitual ARG intake and body fat gain may be relatively prevented over time by the intake of the amino acids ARG and LYS.