AbstractBack ground: Associations between major CVD risk factors and CVD have been reported to be similar among different populations in different regions of the world. But cardiovascular risk profiles differ in different ethnic groups. No studies were found on Tamils living in Sri Lanka. Our aim was to study the prevalence of major cardiovascular risk factors in urban Tamils of the Central province of Sri LankaDesign: Population based cross sectional studyMethods: A simple random sample of 233 Tamils between the ages of 30 and 60 years, living in the urban areas of Kandy Sri Lanka was studied. The sample included 103 men and 130 women. Rate of participation was 74.1% for men and 92.2% for women. They had an interviewer administered questionnaire, anthropometric and blood pressure measurements, and non-fasting blood lipids and blood sugar tests. Results: About a third of the population was hypertensive; close to 60% were not on treatment. Blood pressures increased by age, income and education. Mean total cholesterol (TC), high density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL), TC to HDL ratio and triglycerides were not significantly different between men and women. One fourth of women had high TC. More than a quarter of the study population had low HDL and mean HDL increased by age in men and by education in women. More than two thirds of the study population had high triglycerides. Women had a higher mean body mass index (BMI). Two thirds of the women had central obesity compared to about a fifth of the men. Over half of the women and a fifth of the men were obese according to WHO new obesity definitions for south Asians (¡Ý25 kg/m2). BMI and waist circumference (WC) increased by income and education in men and BMI by education in women. Physical inactivity was high especially among women. Prevalence of smoking was low and none of the women smoked. Higher socio economic group were more obese and more hypertensive but tended to have more favorable lipids. Conclusions: We found high rates of risk factors for CVD except smoking in this group of Tamils of Sri Lanka. The risk factors, except smoking, seem to be higher compared to the general population of Sri Lanka where the majority is Sinhalese. More studies focusing on different risk factors are necessary to understand possible causes for current situation and to formulate programs to reduce the prevalence of risk factors.