During the 1970s and 1980s, Greece was known as a country with low prevalence and incidence of coronary heart disease, compared to Western populations. However, during the past decades, the Greek population has experienced marked but uneven socio-economic development, as well as change in lifestyle habits. We assessed the prevalence of self-reported myocardial infarction (MI) in a sample of the general population, aged 20-94 years. The overall prevalence of self-reported MI was 4.1% (6.3% in men and 1.9% in women). The age-adjusted prevalence was found to be 3.6%, showing a threefold increase compared to 1980s. Age, gender (male), low educational level, obesity/overweight, hypercholesterolemia, diabetes, hypertension, smoking and origin were strongly associated with prevalence of MI. Our findings indicate that the prevalence of MI increased dramatically during the past years, reflecting the change in lifestyle habits that have gradually given way to "Western"-type diets and a more sedentary lifestyle. Therefore, the need for urgent intervention is considered essential in order to prevent a further increase of disease burden.