The aim of this study was to assess prospectively changes in the health-related quality of life (HRQL) of children and adolescents with diabetes, asthma or cystic fibrosis (CF). One hundred and twenty-two parents of children aged 10-16 years with asthma, diabetes, or CF were recruited from specialist paediatric clinics. Parents described their children's HRQL using the Child Health Questionnaire (PF98) at baseline, 6, 12, 18 and 24 months post-baseline. They reported that the general health of children with CF was significantly worse than that of children with asthma and diabetes at baseline. In other domains there were few differences between the HRQL of children in the three groups. In several domains, the HRQL of children with asthma or diabetes improved over the 2 years of the study. This improvement was less evident for children with CF.