Anthropometric measurements were studied for their prediction of herniated lumbar intervertebral disc in 332 men and women who had been discharged from hospital with this diagnosis during an 11-year follow-up. The patients were compared with 1,205 controls matched individually for sex, age, and place of residence. Men with a height of 180 cm or more showed a relative risk of 2.3 (95% confidence limits, 1.4-3.9) and women with a height of 170 cm or more 3.7 (1.6-8.6), compared with those who were more than 10 cm shorter (1.0). In men, but not in women, increased body mass index proved to be an independent risk factor for herniated lumbar disc, whereas the thickness of triceps skinfold had no predictive significance. Height and heavy body mass may be important contributors to the herniation of lumbar intervertebral disc.