In the United States, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in adults with diabetes over age 30 years. Studies in persons without diabetes have shown that atherosclerosis, a central factor in cardiovascular disease, begins in childhood and the presence of cardiovascular disease risk factors in youth lead to increased cardiovascular disease risk in adults. Therefore, youth with diabetes are at increased risk for developing cardiovascular disease as adults and there is a role for risk factor screening and addressing modifiable factors to lower cardiovascular disease risk starting in childhood. This paper reviews the literature on traditional cardiovascular disease risk factors in youth with diabetes including hyperglycemia, hypertension, dyslipidemia, smoking, obesity and family history of cardiovascular disease with an emphasis on type 1 diabetes as well as current American Diabetes Association guidelines for screening and treatment of modifiable risk factors. Current roles of inflammatory markers and measures of subclinical vascular changes such as arterial stiffness are also discussed.