BACKGROUND: Hypercholesterolemia is one of the most important factors causing cardiovascular disease (CVD). The aim of the present work was to evaluate the relationships between socio-demographic, clinical, lifestyle and depression status and the presence of hypercholesterolemia, among elderly individuals without known CVD. METHODS: During 2005-2007, 1190 elderly (aged 65 to 100 years) men and women (from Cyprus, Mitilini, Samothraki, Cephalonia, Crete, Lemnos, Corfu and Zakynthos) were enrolled. Socio-demographic, clinical and lifestyle factors were assessed through standard procedures. Symptoms of depression were evaluated using the short-form of the Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS, range 0-15). Dietary habits were assessed through a semi-quantitative food frequency questionnaire. Hypercholesterolemia was defined as total serum cholesterol > 200 mg/dL or use of lipids lowering medication. RESULTS: 44.6% of males and 61.9% of females had hypercholesterolemia (p < 0.001). Only, 63% of hypercholesterolemic participants were under special diet or pharmaceutical treatment. Hypercholisterolemic individuals had higher prevalence of obesity (43% vs. 25%), hypertension (76% vs. 57%) and diabetes (25% vs. 17%) compared with normal participants (p < 0.001). Furthermore, hypercholisterolemic participants showed higher depression levels (p = 0.002). After adjusting for various confounders, GDS score and BMI correlated with 13% (95%CI 0.98-1.30) and 14% (95%CI 0.99-1.31) higher likelihood of having hypercholesterolemia. CONCLUSION: A considerable proportion of our elderly sample had hypercholesterolemia, while 1/3 of them were untreated. Furthermore, presence of hypercholesterolemia was correlated with depressive symptomatology and increased BMI.