INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES:A healthy lifestyle (HLS) is essential to attaining optimal cardiovascular health. Our objective was to assess the association between a HLS score and the incidence of hard cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. METHODS:The SUN project is a dynamic, prospective, multipurpose cohort of Spanish university graduates with a retention proportion of 92%. In 19 336 participants, we calculated a HLS score ranging from 0 to 10 points: never smoking, physical activity (> 20 METs-h/wk), Mediterranean diet adherence (≥ 4/8 points), low body mass index (≤ 22), moderate alcohol intake (women, 0.1-5g/d; men, 0.1-10g/d), low television exposure (≤ 2h/d), no binge drinking (≤ 5 alcoholic drinks anytime), taking a short afternoon nap (< 30min/d), meeting up with friends> 1h/d and working> 40h/wk. RESULTS:After a median follow-up of 10.4 years, we identified 140 incident cases of CVD. After adjustment for potential confounders, the highest category of HLS score adherence (7-10 points) showed a significant 78% relative reduction in the risk of primary CVD compared with the lowest category (0-3 points) (adjusted HR, 0.22; 95%CI, 0.11-0.46). Each healthy habit was individually associated with a lower risk of CVD. CONCLUSIONS:A HLS score including several simple healthy habits was associated with a lower risk of developing primary CVD. This index may be useful to reinforce CVD prevention without the need to include traditional risk factors.