The aim of this cross-sectional study was to describe the role of asthma, asthma severity, and medication usage in bone mineralization of prepubertal children. Asthma severity, medication usage, and physical activity were assessed by questionnaire and objective measures in 330 children. Bone densitometry and body composition were measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Asthma ever was reported by 110 subjects (33%). A diagnosis of asthma was not associated with any deficit in bone mass, whereas usage of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) in the last year (but not past use) was associated with deficits in bone in the total body (only after adjustment for confounders), particularly for doses of > or =400 microg/day. These observations support current recommendations with regard to ICS usage in children, but require confirmation in longitudinal studies.