Recently, several reports have described the effects of growth hormone (GH) deficiency (GHD) on bone and the associated potential benefits of GH therapy. Not all of these reports have, however, been consistent and the results are debated. Some of the contention surrounding this issue reflects disagreement about which bone parameters are the best indicators of bone strength and fracture risk. In November 1999, a meeting was held in Taormina, Italy, to discuss the assessment of bone in patients with GHD and the effects of GH therapy on the skeleton. The participants included endocrinologists, orthopaedists and biophysicists from around the world. During the meeting, the advantages and disadvantages of the various indicators of bone strength were defined. In considering GH therapy, the delegates agreed that it had beneficial effects on bone in adults with GHD, but that further studies were needed in GH-deficient children. Finally, the participants stressed the need for more data to clarify which indicator of bone strength is the most appropriate to use in adults and children with GHD, and to define fully the role of GH therapy in bone metabolism. It was recognized that pharmacoepidemiological surveys, such as KIGS (Pharmacia International Growth Database) and KIMS (Pharmacia International Metabolic Database), are valuable sources of such data, and are, therefore, important in the development of evidence-based medicine.