Survival in cystic fibrosis has improved significantly in the last 30 years, with major therapeutic goals of delaying the progressive loss of pulmonary function and maintaining normal growth. Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) was performed in children with cystic fibrosis (CF) to assess both bone mineral density and body composition. We hypothesised that there would be an association between body composition and pulmonary function in children with CF. Fifty subjects with CF (28 males), mean age 12.7 years, participated in the study. Body composition was determined by DEXA. Body mass index (BMI) was calculated from the ratio of weight/height2 (kg/m2). Lung function was assessed by spirometry. Most patients (78%) had mild lung disease. The mean forced expired volume in 1 sec percent predicted (FEV1% predicted) for the 50 patients was 79.2% (range, 24-117%). There was a strong association between FEV1% predicted and BMI (R=0.59, P=0.0001). Fat-free mass had positive association with pulmonary function tests (R=0.30, P=0.03). Although fat mass showed a positive correlation with pulmonary function, this association did not reach statistical significance. In our group of children with CF and mild lung disease, pulmonary function was more strongly associated with BMI than with fat and fat-free mass.