||BACKGROUND: Obesity increases the risk for a number of solid malignant tumours. However, it is not clear whether body mass index (BMI) and height are associated with the risk of primary tumours of the central nervous system (CNS). METHODS: In a large population study (The Nord-Trondelag Health Study (HUNT Study)) of 74 242 participants in Norway, weight and height were measured. During follow-up, incident CNS tumours were identified by individual linkage to the Norwegian Cancer Registry. Sex- and age-adjusted and multivariable Cox regression analyses were used to evaluate BMI and height in relation to the risk of meningioma, glioma and schwannoma. RESULTS: A total of 138 meningiomas, 148 gliomas and 39 schwannomas occurred during 23.5 years (median, range 0-25) of follow-up. In obese women (BMI >/= 30 kg m(-2)), meningioma risk was 67% higher (hazard ratio (HR)=1.68, 95% confidence interval (CI): 0.97-2.92, P-trend=0.05) than in the reference group (BMI 20-24.9 kg m(-2)), whereas no association with obesity was observed in males. There was no association of BMI with glioma risk, but there was a negative association of overweight/obesity (BMI >/= 25 kg m(-2)) with the risk of schwannoma (HR=0.48, 95% CI: 0.23-0.99). However, the schwannoma analysis was based on small numbers. Height was not associated with the risk for any tumour subgroup. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that BMI is positively associated with meningioma risk in women, and possibly, inversely associated with schwannoma risk.