Trend analyses based on WHO statistics for average life expectancy, age-standardized cardiovascular (CVD) morbidity and mortality show significant differences between the former German Democratic Republic (GDR) and the former Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). To investigate whether this is due to a different prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors, the Dresden Cardiovascular Risk and Nutrition (DRECAN) study was conducted using the complete methodology of the Prospective Cardiovascular Münster (PROCAM) study, i.e., the same methods and strict quality controls, with an exchange of specimens between both laboratories. The results were compared with those of an adjusted subpopulation of the PROCAM study. Even before unification there were only small differences in lipoprotein profiles between West and East Germany, 10 months after unification these differences were minimal. The survey does not sufficiently explain the differences in CHD morbidity and mortality between Western and Eastern Germany. Further analyses of the nutritional aspects will show whether the change, in available foodstuffs after unification has led to substantially changed nutritional habits, and whether this might explain some of the results.