Early detection of spine deformities by school screening has proven to be an effective mechanism for early diagnosis. The forward bending test is a simple rapid method of detection and has been used in the Minnesota State screening program. Screening in Minnesota began in 2 rural communities and spread to include the whole state. Over 570,000 children have been screened to the end of the 1975/1976 school year. The prevalence rate of 4.0% of rational prominences is the same as that found in other screening programs. The findings of a large number of small curves and the nearly equal sex ratio were unexpected, but reflect the recent literature. Even though a large number of normal spines are referred for physician evaluation by the screening, the benefits are great. The curves are detected when they are small, allowing progressive deformities to be detected early, promptly braced and deterioration prevented. The need for future surgical correction is thus decreased. The routine screening in Minnesota of school children for spine deformities has proved to be an effective method for the early detection of spine deformities. The screening test is rapid and easy - 'a 30-second investment for a lifetime of dividends'.