A 1-year follow-up study of 1756 third- and fifth-grade schoolchildren was conducted with a structured pain questionnaire to assess the prevalence and persistence of self-reported musculoskeletal pain symptoms and disability caused by pain. At follow-up, 1626 (92.7%) children participated in the study. Pain at least once a week persisted in 270 (52.4%) of the 564 children who reported musculoskeletal pain at least once a week in at least one part of the body at baseline. Of the regional pain symptoms, neck pain had highest persistence and, in girls, significantly more than in boys. Persistence of pain was not related to school grade. Widespread pain, determined as in the criteria for fibromyalgia, was found in 132 children (7.5%) and persisted in 35 children (29.7%, 95% CI 21.9-38.4) at follow-up. Disability was more severe in children with pain symptoms in more than one area. This study showed that about half of the preadolescents complaining of musculoskeletal pain at least once a week at baseline had persistent pain symptoms at follow-up. The prognosis of widespread pain in preadolescents was almost the same as the previous findings in adults.