Objective To determine the role of current weight in mediating the relationship between birth weight and blood pressure within the context of the 'fetal origins' hypothesis.Design Prospective cohort study of 2507 pregnant women and their singleton offspring, delivered live at term, in Perth, Western Australia between 1989 and 1992. The study commenced at 16 weeks gestation with serial weight and blood pressure measurements recorded through early childhood.Results Inverse associations were found between birth weight and systolic blood pressure at ages 1,3 and 6. The effect of birth weight on systolic blood pressure at age 6 reached statistical significance and was increased fourfold in magnitude to -2.3 mmHg [95% confidence interval = (-3.3 to -1.3), P <0.01] after adjustment for current weight. The interaction term for birth weight and current weight was not statistically significant. Including intermediate weights did not produce a statistically significantly better model but did increase the magnitude of the estimated regression coefficient of birth weight on blood pressure, and only the birth weight and current weight terms were significant.Conclusions Adjustment for current weight serves to highlight the relationship between birth weight and blood pressure in childhood. Nevertheless, birth weight, rather than birth weight adjusted for current weight, is still the relevant predictor of later blood pressure within the context of the 'fetal origins' hypothesis. J Hypertens 2000, 18:1007-1012 (C) Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.