The insulin response to a standard oral glucose tolerance test (OGTT) and other anthropometric and biochemical risk factors for coronary heart disease (CHD) were measured in a random sample of 107 Edinburgh men, who were initially studied in 1976 when they were 40 and who were reexamined in 1988-89. Fasting glucose and glucose response to OGTT were higher in 1988-89 than in 1976. In contrast, insulin levels did not differ between the initial and follow-up study either before or after the glucose load. Body mass indices increased, except triceps skinfold. Changing patterns in both fasting and OGTT insulin or glucose levels in individuals were related to changes in bodyweight or in subscapular skinfolds. Modifications in serum total and HDL cholesterol were related to changes in fasting insulin and insulin area, respectively, but not to glucose data. Eleven men developed clinical CHD. Neither glucose nor insulin measures obtained in 1976 differed between those with and without CHD. Weight-height index and abdominal skin-folds were higher in those with CHD. HDL cholesterol was significantly lower (P less than 0.05). Abdominal skin-fold but not body mass index remained significant when adjusted for HDL cholesterol. This small study confirms the importance of central obesity and low HDL cholesterol but failed to identify insulin as a risk factor for CHD in this Scottish population.