To confirm the reported association of body fat distribution with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, blood pressure and serum cholesterol, data from the 1960-62 Health Examination Survey were analyzed. In this sample drawn from the noninstitutionalized population of the United States aged 18-79, mean values of two indices of upper versus lower body fat distribution increased steadily with age. Men had higher values than women, and black women had higher values than white women. Higher values of the indices were significantly associated with higher blood pressure, post-load serum glucose and greater prevalence of definite hypertension and definite hypertensive heart disease independent of multiple confounders. Associations with higher serum cholesterol and definite coronary heart disease prevalence were independent of overall ponderosity but not of age and multiple other confounders. Greater abdominal relative to lower body fat deposits were independently associated with increased cardiovascular risk in men and women, blacks and whites.