The bone mineral content (BMC) in patients with insulin-dependent diabetes is reduced by 10% early in the disease, but due to a lack of long-term longitudinal studies it is unknown whether this diabetic osteopenia develops further through life. Over a time period of 11 years we examined the BMC in a group of seven adult insulin-dependent diabetics, in whom physiological and pathological factors affecting bone metabolism had been excluded; the patients were well regulated without diabetic complications. The BMC was not significantly decreased at the initial examination. The longitudinal study revealed a small but statistically significant fall in BMC, mainly in trabecular bone. The narrow (95%) confidence interval of median end value (93.3-99.0% of initial BMC) indicates that the annual decrease in BMC in such patients is of the order of 0.5%, a reduction that is probably clinically insignificant.