High plasminogen activator inhibitor (PAI)-1 levels and poor dietary fat quality are potential risk factors for cardiovascular disease. The aim was to investigate the cross-sectional associations between PAI-1 activity and dietary nutrient intake, focusing on fat quality, in a population-based study of 871 men aged 70 years. The relationship between PAI-1 and the fatty acid composition in serum cholesterol esters (n=381 men) was also studied. The estimated total fat intake was positively associated with PAI-1 activity. The intake of both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids was positively associated with PAI-1 activity, whereas the intake of saturated fatty acids was not. In serum cholesterol esters, higher proportions of palmitoleic and dihomo-gamma-linolenic acid, a lower proportion of linoleic acid, and reduced estimated Delta5-desaturase activity were associated with higher PAI-1 levels. These associations were confounded by factors representing the insulin resistance syndrome. PAI-1 activity was positively associated with gamma-linolenic and arachidonic acid, independent of potential confounders. In conclusion, this study demonstrates that dietary intake of unsaturated fatty acids is positively associated with PAI-1 activity, whereas intake of saturated fatty acids is not. The associations present between PAI-1 activity and the fatty acid proportions in serum cholesterol esters are partly influenced by metabolic syndrome-related factors.