Cardiovascular disease risk factors were studied in Hispanic children in Brooks County, Texas, and in white and black children in Bogalusa, Louisiana, in 1984-1985. The same protocols were used at both sites; examiners in Brooks County were trained by Bogalusa Heart Study staff. All blood samples were analyzed in a single laboratory standardized by the Centers for Disease Control. Hispanic children were about 4 cm shorter and were about the same weight as white and black children. Subscapular skinfolds were thickest in Hispanic children. Little difference was noted for blood pressure levels in the three ethnic groups. Total cholesterol levels were highest in black children, with a drop during puberty being noted in all of the ethnic groups. This drop with puberty appeared somewhat earlier in the Hispanic children. Lipoprotein levels for Hispanic children were, in general, similar to those noted for white children. Some of the Hispanic-black differences in lipid and lipoprotein levels could be explained by differences in body size. Because Hispanics are at increased risk for specific diseases, such as diabetes, increased study of this population is warranted. Intervention and education programs aimed at altering this risk must address the unique cultural heritage of this population.