INTRODUCTION Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) are the main cause of death in Brazil. OBJECTIVE To evaluate the frequency of CVD risk factors in a population attending a health education community event. METHODS. Retrospective study that included 428 completed forms with clinical and demographic information of volunteers attending a public event, in May, 2006. Data were expressed by means and standard deviation or proportions and compared by Student s t test or Chi-square test. Associations between Arterial Hypertension (AH), Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and clinical variables were analyzed by multinomial logistic regression. Significance level was p <0.05. RESULTS Mean age was 57+/-14 years, and women represented 58% of the total population. The main cardiovascular risk factors were AH (39.5%), DM (15.4%) and dyslipidemia (25.8%). The frequency of unawareness about these risk factors was respectively 8.4%, 17.5% and 33.1%.. Family history of CVD was reported by 41% while only 67% reported having any information about DM or dyslipidemia. Among obese individuals (IMC>30 Kg/m2, 27.3% of the population), systolic blood pressure (133+/-16 mm Hg), diastolic blood pressure (84+/-11.5 mm Hg) and casual glycemia (124+/-52.5mg/dl) were higher when compared to non-obese (p<0.05). There was a significant association between obesity and dyslipidemia (p=0.04). Age and IMC were independently associated with AH and DM. CONCLUSION The high frequency of modifiable cardiovascular risk factors in this population suggests the need for educational programs to promote primary prevention, mainly for the elderly and overweight.