BACKGROUND: A high prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors (RF) has been reported in Spain. The aim of this study was to determine the main RF of heart disease (cholesterol, smoking, high blood pressure (HBP), diabetes, obesity, and sedentarism) in laboral population from Granada, Spain. METHODS: The sample included 1,555 workers (1,193 males and 362 females, mean age 42.3 years). The percentage of participation was 91.9%. Information was collected directly (standardized self administered questionnaire) and from the physicians of the companies (protocolized anamnesis, physical examination and electrocardiogram) for each worker. Serum cholesterol was measured in venous blood by an enzymatic autoanalyzer. A description of the phenomennon was studied and likewise, the multivariate models of logistic regression were adjusted to evaluate the association of the other RF with hypercholesterolemia. RESULTS: Serum cholesterol level higher than 200 mg/dl (5.17 mmol/l) was presented in 69.3% of the sample. The prevalence of HBP was 8.4%. Forty-four point two percent were smokers (48.9% males and 28.7% females). A body mass index higher than 25 kg/m2 was presented in 65.2%. The prevalence of diabetes was 3.5% and 18% of the workers classified themselves as sedentary. Only 2.8% of the males and 11.6% of the females were absolutely free of the RF studied. Diabetes, age, obesity, HBP and smoking (> 10 cigarettes/day) were significantly associated with a higher probability to present hypercholesterolemia. CONCLUSIONS: A high prevalence of classical risk factors related to cardiovascular disease, with the exception of high blood pressure, was observed, thus making the application of preventive measures necessary.