Cross-sectional studies have shown frequent fresh fruit consumption to be associated with higher lung function in both children and adults. This relationship is investigated longitudinally in a national sample of 2,171 British adults age 18 to 73 initially examined in 1984, who were reexamined 7 yr later, and had no reported history of chronic respiratory disease throughout. Outcome was assessed by change in forced expiratory volume in one second (FEV1) between the two examinations, standardized for age, height, and sex and related to fresh fruit consumption estimated by food frequency questionnaires at both examinations. After adjustment for region, social class, and smoking, changes in fresh fruit consumption levels were positively associated with changes in FEV1 (p = 0.002), highlighted by a more marked fall in FEV1 (107 ml; 95% confidence interval, 36 to 178 ml) in subjects who reduced their fresh fruit consumption the greatest compared with those with no change. In contrast, average levels of fruit intake were not associated with change in FEV1 (p = 0.695). The implication is that the cross-sectional effects of fresh fruit consumption on ventilatory function appear to be reversible and not progressive, such that consistently low levels of fresh fruit intake do not appear to increase lung function decline.