The prevalance of atherosclerotic vascular disease is unexpectedly high in Turkey despite its young population, with a median age of 29. The mean total cholesterol is lower than in Western European countries; however, smoking is very prevalant, the incidence of metabolic syndrome is high and obesity, diabetes and hypertension are becoming a major problem, especially in women. Having these risk factors as well as lower HDL levels leads to high cardiovascular morbidity and mortality at younger ages. This problem is expected to become worse with increasing industrialisation, adaptation to Western diets, a sedentary lifestyle and increasing obesity. A National Heart Health Policy has been developed to overcome this epidemic and combat the risk factors and reduce the burden of atherosclerotic vascular disease.