Abnormal pulmonary function in childhood is a well-known risk factor for lung function impairment in adult life. It is therefore of clinical interest to recognize lower pulmonary function in childhood. We investigated the association between asthma-like respiratory symptoms and the lung function parameters FVC, FEV1, and FEF(25-75) in a population-based sample of 402 schoolchildren, aged 7 and 8 years, using linear regression analyses. Without accounting for other respiratory symptoms, wheeze, exercise-induced wheeze, chronic cough, and history of wheezy bronchitis or lower respiratory infections in early childhood were significantly associated with reduced lung function. After stepwise elimination of symptoms from the regression models, only exercise-induced wheeze (FEV1, -15%pred, FEF(25-75), -21%pred) and a history of chronic cough (FEV1, -5%pred; FEF(25-75), -11%pred) remained significant predictors of decreased lung function. After adjustment for different variability, no significant differences were seen between the effects of symptoms on the flow measurements FEV1 and FEF(25-75). We conclude that children who report exercise-induced wheeze and/or chronic cough may have a considerable deficit in lung function at early school age.