Ischaemic heart disease is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Because most factors leading to cardiovascular disease have a silent course, early screening is needed for prevention and for halting disease progression. In our centre, a programme was implemented in apparently healthy subjects for the early diagnosis and treatment of factors known to increment the risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic disease. We present data from the first 153 individuals evaluated. The incidence of modifiable risk factors in our healthy population was as follows: overweight 33% (BMI: 25-30 kg/m(2)), obesity 45% (BMI >30 kg/m(2)), sedentarism 84%, arterial hypertension 15% (>140/90 mm Hg), hyperinsulinaemia 50%, glucose intolerance 14% (>160 mg/dl 120 min after 75 g glucose load), type 2 diabetes mellitus 5%, hypercholesterolaemia 50%, hypertriglyceridaemia 28%, and salt sensitivity 25%. Clustering of three or more cardiovascular risk factors was observed in 59% of the apparently healthy subjects. Obesity was associated with greater clustering of risk factors. The cardiovascular dysmetabolic syndrome was present in 72% of the obese individuals. These findings revealed a very high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in apparently healthy Hispanics. Even though these individuals were clinically asymptomatic, they are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes mellitus. Mechanisms for the early detection and correction of modifiable risk factors in the healthy population must be implemented. Only through prevention will a reduction in the incidence of cardiovascular atherosclerotic disease and of type 2 diabetes mellitus be achieved.