The authors investigated the association of resting heart rate (RHR) with cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors and mortality among normal-weight individuals. Using data from our cohort (baseline examination in 1967-1973), individuals with a body mass index of 18.5 to 24.9 kg/m(2) (men [n=3724] and women [n=4929] aged 18-39; men [n=1959] and women [n=3735] aged 40-59), were grouped by RHR: <75, 75-84, and > or =85 beats per minute (bpm). A lower RHR was associated with lower mean blood pressure (BP) and cigarette use in each subgroup and total cholesterol (TC) and diabetes in men (P<.05). After a 32-year follow-up, hazard ratios (95% confidence intervals) for CVD mortality for an RHR <75 compared with > or =85 bpm adjusted for age, race, education level, BP, cigarette use, diabetes, and TC were 0.58 (0.34-0.84), 0.73(0.56-0.95), and 0.77 (0.61-0.98) for men aged 18 to 39 and men and women aged 40 to 59, respectively. In women aged 18 to 39, the relationship was not significant. In general, normal-weight individuals with lower RHRs have lower levels of CVD risk factors and mortality.