OBJECTIVES To determine the prevalence of carotid and femoral artery atherosclerotic plaque in a community-based population of asymptomatic African American and white men and women, with an age range of 29 to 51 years, and the potential relations with cardiovascular risk factors. METHODS Between 2007 and 2010, 914 subjects, 58% women and 69% white, who were part of the Bogalusa Heart Study, an ongoing study of a southern biracial community in Bogalusa, Louisiana, were followed up from childhood through adulthood and assessed for plaque formation using ultrasound. Of the total number of subjects, those with a history of cardiovascular/cerebrovascular events were excluded. RESULTS Plaque prevalence ranged from 8% to 14%, with greater frequency in white men. Plaque formation was also associated with smoking, hypertension, diabetes mellitus, age, and white race, in descending order. CONCLUSIONS In this population, studied sequentially since 1973, the presence of plaque correlated with widely recognized cardiovascular risk factors, although we did not detect significant contributions from either obesity or elevated lipids, including low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. It is possible that interventions, such as diet alteration and statin therapy, may have a positive impact on these potential contributors to plaque formation, and hypertension, diabetes mellitus and smoking remain of great importance.