As part of a comprehensive evaluation of lung function in Hong Kong-born Chinese children and adolescents, this study was conducted to determine updated prediction equations for spirometry, to evaluate the secular changes of lung function during the past decade, and to compare these results with other data sets. The results are based on 852 (392 male, 460 female) healthy students, age 7 to 19 yr, recruited from seven schools in Hong Kong. All were born and lived in Hong Kong, nonsmokers, free from past or present symptoms or diseases affecting the respiratory tract. A body plethysmograph was used to record lung function measurements. Natural logarithmic values of lung volumes and body height were used in the final regression model. Prediction equations for FVC, FEV(1), and maximal expiratory flow at 50% of the FVC (MEF(50)) for both sexes are presented, with standing height as the dependent variable. Compared with Hong Kong data from 1985, the results show a significant increase in height-corrected FVC and FEV(1) in both boys and girls, over the whole height range. Compared with recent data of whites, FVC in boys were 8 to 10% lower in the study population, and the difference increased to 12% above the 165 cm height ranges, while FVC in Chinese girls had similar or only slightly lower predicted values. FEV(1) values showed a similar pattern with lesser difference between the two ethnic groups. Compared with recent data from Chinese children in Singapore, a similar pattern with overall lesser difference of the two populations was present in boys, whereas there was no significant difference between girls in the two places. Our findings support the conclusion that exogenous factors may contribute significantly to the differences in lung function values among ethnic groups and that it is important to examine normative values of various populations for secular trends.