Analyses of data from the first National Health Examination Survey undertaken from 1984-1986 within the framework of the German Cardiovascular Prevention Study, show the following risk factor prevalences in 25-69 year-old men and women: overweight (BMI males: greater than 25, females greater than 24) or obese (BMI greater than 30): men 65.0%, women 57.6%; total serum cholesterol (less than 5.17 mmol/dl): men 73.7%, women 74.0%; normal blood pressure (according to JNC definitions): men 45.0%, women 59.1%; hypertension according to WHO criteria: men 26.0%, women 21.1%; controlled hypertensives (WHO criteria): men 19.9%, women 33.9%; current smoking: men 40.8%, women 26.1%. For most of the cardiovascular risk factors there is a clear negative association between prevalence and length of school education. Three myocardial infarction (MI) registries (WHO MONICA Project) are operating in the Federal Republic of Germany. Incidence and case-fatality data are within comparable ranges. Coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality has been relatively stable in both sexes from 1970 to 1986 with a minor peak in 1976 and a slight downward trend since then. A study of the reliability of coding procedures in West German state statistical offices revealed major disagreements so that trends derived from national mortality data as aggregate data of the federal states might be spurious. An ecological correlation of regional smoking prevalences (1978) and regional CHD mortality rates (1977-9) showed significant coefficients in men, but not in women.