Background/Aim: Micro-albuminuria is associated with insulin resistance and a high blood pressure and predicts an increased risk of cardiovascular disease in both diabetic and non-diabetic populations. Relationships have been described for micro-albuminuria with both low birth weight and short stature in adulthood. We have tested the hypothesis that micro-albuminuria in non-diabetic adults may be associated with markers of intra-uterine growth retardation. Methods: We measured the urinary albumin excretion rate in 818 men and women from three populations, in whom detailed records of birth weight were available, of whom 354 had records of length at birth to provide an estimate of the ponderal index. Results: The albumin excretion rates were higher in men than in women (5.1 vs. 3.8 µg/min) and were related to age (r = 0.23, p < 0.001) and body mass index (r = 0.08, p = 0.02) as well as fasting plasma glucose and blood pressure. Considered as a continuous variable, the albumin excretion rate was not related to any measure of size at birth or to adult height. Fifty-four subjects (6.6%) were micro-albuminuric (albumin excretion rate ≧ 20 µg/ min), and these subjects were thinner at birth than normo-albuminuric subjects (12.9 vs. 13.8 oz/in<sup>3</sup>, p = 0.09). Compared to those subjects whose ponderal index had been in the upper third of the distribution, people whose ponderal index had been in the lower third of the distribution had an odds ratio for micro-albuminuria of 3.1 (p for trend 0.05). Conclusion: The association between micro-albuminuria, insulin resistance, and coronary heart disease may be a consequence of growth retardation representing a common antecedent.