Height has been inversely associated with coronary heart disease in several prospective studies in men, but data in women are sparse. The relation between height and cardiovascular disease was examined in 14 years of follow-up data from the Nurses' Health Study, a prospective cohort of 121,700 US female nurses aged 30-55 years in 1976. The relative risks associating height with coronary heart disease (nonfatal myocardial infarction (n = 1,000), fatal myocardial infarction (n = 304), confirmed angina (n = 1,343), or coronary revascularization (n = 901)) were estimated after adjustment for a large number of cardiovascular risk factors, including age and body mass index. Compared with the shortest women (< or = 61 inches (< or = 1.55 m)), the relative risk of coronary heart disease was 0.82 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73-0.92) for women 62-63 inches (1.57-1.60 m) tall, 0.74 (95% CI 0.65-0.85) for women 64 inches (1.63 m) tall, 0.79 (95% CI 0.70-0.89) for women 65-66 inches (1.65-1.68 m) tall, and 0.73 (95% CI 0.65-0.83) for women 67 or more inches (> or = 1.70 m) tall (p for trend < 0.0001). The inverse association was more pronounced for angina/coronary revascularization (p for trend < 0.0001; relative risk for 67 or more inches = 0.67 (95% CI 0.58-0.78)) than for myocardial infarction (p for trend = 0.03; relative risk for 67 or more inches = 0.78 (95% CI 0.64-0.95)). No trend was evident for height in relation to risk of stroke. These data support the hypothesis that height is inversely related to risk of coronary heart disease in women.