The European Consensus on Primary Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease has recommended that providing care for individuals at particular risk for coronary artery disease (CAD) requires case finding through medical examinations in primary care, hospital and employment health examination settings. Decisions concerning management of elevated lipid levels should be based on overall cardiovascular risk. The goal of reducing cholesterol levels through risk reduction can ultimately be accomplished only with the implementation of health education efforts directed toward all age groups and actions by government and supranational agencies, including adequate food labelling to identify fat content, selective taxation to encourage healthful habits and wider availability of exercise facilities. Only measures directed at the overall population can eventually reach the large proportion of individuals at mildly to moderately increased risk for CAD. The European Policy Statement on the Prevention of Coronary Heart Disease recognizes that the question of lipid elevation as a risk factor for CAD involves assessment, not only of cholesterol level alone, but also of triglycerides and the HDL cholesterol lipid fraction. Five specific categories of dyslipidemia have been identified, with individualized screening and treatment strategies advised for each. It is the consensus of the study group panel members that these procedures are both practical and feasible. They begin the necessary long term process to reduce the unacceptably high levels of morbidity and mortality due to CAD throughout the European community.