Many studies have reported on relations between birth size and adult size but the findings to date are hard to compare due to the lack of uniform measures across studies. Interpretation of findings is also hampered by potential confounding by ethnic, socioeconomic and family factors. The purpose of this study is to explore these relationships in a comprehensive fashion, with multiple measures of birth size and adult size, using same-sex sibling controls discordant in birth weight to address potential confounding at the family level. Study subjects include pregnant women enrolled during 1959–1966 in the Child Health and Development Study in Oakland, CA and the Boston, MA, and providence, RI, sites of the Collaborative Perinatal Project in New England, currently combined into the New England Family Study. We assessed 392 offspring (mean age 43 years), the great majority as sibships as available. Our analyses confirm the positive association between birth weight and adult length reported in other studies, with a change in adult height of 1.25 cm (95% CI: 0.79 to 1.70 cm) for each quintile change in standardized birth weight. No associations were seen between birth weight and adult fatness for which findings in other studies are highly variable. As adult weight is likely to reflect recent variations in the adult nutritional environment rather than the early environment, it may be more useful for studies of birth size and adult size to focus on adult length rather than weight measures in evaluating the role of early influences on adult health.