Renal cell cancer (RCC) incidence has increased in the United States over the past three decades. The authors analyzed the association between body mass index (BMI) and invasive RCC in the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet and Health Study, a large, prospective cohort aged 50-71 years at baseline initiated in 1995-1996, with follow-up through December 2003. Detailed analyses were conducted in a subcohort responding to a second questionnaire, including BMI at younger ages (18, 35, and 50 years); weight change across three consecutive age intervals; waist, hip, and waist-to-hip ratio; and height at age 18 years. Incident RCC was diagnosed in 1,022 men and 344 women. RCC was positively and strongly related to BMI at study baseline. Among subjects analyzed in the subcohort, RCC associations were strongest for baseline BMI and BMI recalled at age 50 years and were successively attenuated for BMI recalled at ages 35 and 18 years. Weight gain in early (18-35 years of age) and mid- (35-50 years of age) adulthood was strongly associated with RCC, whereas weight gain after midlife (age 50 years to baseline) was unrelated. Waist-to hip ratio was positively associated with RCC in women and with height at age 18 years in both men and women.