Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the major cause of morbidity and mortality in diabetes. To determine the proportion of patients who met the American Diabetes Association guidelines for control of CVD risk factors and to assess the achievement of these guidelines in women compared with men, we conducted a cross-sectional study of 3678 diabetic cohorts followed at seven medical centers, two Veteran Administration hospitals, three urban clinics, and two suburban clinics. Overall, 28% met the target blood pressure of <130/80 mm Hg, 48.8% achieved a goal low-density lipoprotein cholesterol of <100 mg/dL, and 35.8% had hemoglobin A1c of <7%. Gender comparisons of 2788 diabetic patients at urban and suburban centers showed that women had a lower percentage of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol <100 mg/dL (45.8 vs. 51.3, p<0.01) and a lower percentage of screening for retinopathy (54 vs. 60, p<0.01) and nephropathy (37 vs. 49, p<0.01). However, overall there were no gender differences in the percentage of patients who achieved a goal blood pressure <130/80 mm Hg or hemoglobin A1c <7%. Control of blood pressure and other CVD risk factors in diabetic patients was largely suboptimal, especially for diabetic women. These observations underscore the need for better strategies for control of CVD risk in the diabetic population in general, and women in particular.