A 2-year cohort of 63 surviving extremely low birth weight (ELBW) infants was prospectively studied and 60 of these infants, together with 44 normal birth weight control infants, were assessed at 2 years of age for intellectual abilities, motor skills, growth and health. The total ELBW group differed significantly from controls on overall Griffiths developmental quotient (99.3 vs. 103.8 P = 0.02) and in the personal/social subscale (100.7 vs. 106.7 P = 0.01). A subset of 43 of the ELBW infants was identified as low risk at discharge. No statistically significant differences were present between the low risk ELBW subset and controls in intellectual abilities though both the total ELBW group and the low risk ELBW subset differed from controls in fine and gross motor abilities, and in weight at 2 years. The total ELBW group also experienced more frequent ill health and hospital readmission.