In the WHO MONICA Study, determinants and trends in cardiovascular disease are monitored during a 10-year period in 40 centers in 27 countries. The Northern Sweden MONICA Center is located furthest to the north of all participating centers. In this report, baseline data on cardiovascular risk factors are presented. In the first population screening, 1,625 of 2,000 (81%) invited individuals participated. Diastolic blood pressure greater than or equal to 90 mmHg was recorded in 19% and 9% were on drug treatment for hypertension. Median cholesterol level was 6.10 mmol/l and the frequency of hypercholesterolemia was high. A body mass index of greater than or equal to 30, indicating severe obesity, was observed in 9%, a lower proportion than in most other European populations. Among men, the total proportion of tobacco consumers was 49%, including 22% snuffers. Of the women, 31% were tobacco consumers, very few being snuffers. Women had, in general, a more favorable cardiovascular risk factor profile up to the age of 45. Thereafter, the two genders were similar. By international comparisons, the population in northern Sweden is characterized by high serum cholesterol levels, intermediate blood pressure levels, a relatively low prevalence of severe obesity and a high consumption of smokeless tobacco.