This article investigates the association of education with the estimated coronary heart disease (CHD) risk and the prevalence of CHD risk factors for men and women in a New England community over a period of 10 years. Educational differentials in knowledge of cardiovascular disease prevention, body mass index (BMI), total and high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, cigarette smoking, and hypertension were examined for 3,765 respondents 25-64 years of age from five surveys of the Pawtucket Heart Health Program. We found a clear negative association between education and composite CHD risk. A stable separation in risk level was maintained across time between the least educated (< 12 years of education) and the other two educational groups (12, > or = 13 years of education) in both men and women. Educational differentials were observed in BMI and total and HDL cholesterol of the women 25-44 years of age. For men and women 25-44 years of age, smoking was negatively associated with education. Hypertension differed by education level among the women 45-64 years of age. These findings are highly comparable with the national data from aggregate vital statistics and the results of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) cohort follow-up.