Previous studies have reported inconsistent results on the effect of anthropometric and lifestyle factors on the risk of developing glioma or meningioma tumours. A prospective cohort of 1.3 million middle-aged women was used to examine these relationships. During 7.7 million women-years of follow-up, a total of 1563 women were diagnosed with a primary incident central nervous system tumour: 646 tumours were classified as glioma and 390 as meningioma. Our results show that height is related to the incidence of all central nervous system tumours with a risk of about 20% per 10 cm increase in height (relative risk=1.19, 95% CI=1.10-1.30 per 10 cm increase in height, P<0.001): the risks did not differ significantly between specified glioma and meningioma. Body mass index (BMI) was also related to central nervous system tumour incidence, with a risk of about 20% per 10 kg m(-2) increase in BMI (relative risk=1.17, 95% CI=1.03-1.34 per 10 kg m(-2) increase in BMI, P=0.02). Smoking status, alcohol intake, socioeconomic level, parity, age at first birth, and oral contraceptive use were not associated with the risk of glioma or meningioma tumours. In conclusion, for women in the United Kingdom, the incidence of glioma or meningioma tumours increases with increasing height and increasing BMI.