Insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) is a potentially important determinant of disease; hence epidemiological identification of factors that influence circulating IGF-1 is merited. We therefore analysed data collected in Greece to determine the relationship between anthropometric, lifestyle and dietary variables and serum levels of IGF-1 among elderly men. We identified 51 men with prostate cancer, 50 men with benign prostatic hyperplasia, and 52 apparently healthy elderly men (controls), all matched for age (+/- 1 year). These 153 men provided blood specimens and were interviewed using a validated lifestyle and food frequency questionnaire. We performed multivariate linear regression to identify potential predictors of circulating IGF-1. After controlling for age, body mass index, smoking habits, alcohol drinking and coffee consumption, each 5 cm increase in height predicted a 13.0% increase in IGF-1 (95% CI 0.4-27.2%) among the controls and a 11.3% increase in IGF-1 (95% CI 4.5-18.6%) among the entire study group. None of the investigated dietary factors (total fat, carbohydrate, protein, dairy products, tomatoes, calcium) were strongly related to IGF-1 levels. The positive association between IGF-1 and height integrates the empirical evidence linking IGF-1 and height with prostate cancer risk.