Background: The goal of this study was to examine the 1-year outcome after the first course of systemic corticosteroids in an inception cohort of pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Methods: All Olmsted County (Minnesota) residents diagnosed with Crohn's disease (n = 50) or ulcerative colitis (n = 36) before 19 years of age from 1940 to 2001 were identified. Outcomes at 30 days and 1 year after the initial course of corticosteroids were recorded. Results: Twenty-six patients with Crohn's disease (65%) and 14 with ulcerative colitis (44%) were treated with corticosteroids before age 19. Thirty-day outcomes for corticosteroid-treated Crohn's disease were complete remission in 16 (62%), partial remission in 7 (27%), and no response in 3 (12%), with 2 of these patients requiring surgery. Thirty-day outcomes for treated ulcerative colitis were complete remission in 7 (50%), partial remission in 4 (29%), and no response in 3 (21%). One-year outcomes for Crohn's disease were prolonged response in 11 (42%) and corticosteroid dependence in 8 (31%), whereas 7 (27%) were postsurgical. One-year outcomes for ulcerative colitis were prolonged response in 8 (57%) and corticosteroid dependence in 2 (14%), whereas 4 (29%) were postsurgical. Conclusions: Most pediatric patients with inflammatory bowel disease initially responded to corticosteroids. However, after 1 year, 58% of pediatric patients with Crohn's disease and 43% of pediatric patients with ulcerative colitis either were steroid dependent or required surgery. This finding emphasizes the need for early steroid-sparing medications in pediatric inflammatory bowel disease.