Low birthweight is associated with later risk of type 2 diabetes and related disorders. We aimed to show that a polymorphism in the gene for insulin-like growth factor-I, which has proved to raise risk of type 2 diabetes and myocardial infarction, is associated with low birthweight. We recorded birthweight and obtained DNA for 463 adults. Individuals who did not have the wild-type allele of the polymorphism had a 215 g lower birthweight than those homozygous for this allele (95% CI -411 to -10). Our data lend support to the hypothesis that genetic variation affecting fetal growth could account for the association between low birthweight and susceptibility to diabetes and cardiovascular disease in later life.