Several studies have suggested that dietary selenium deficiency may be associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). In the present study, 55 men and 71 women were selected from participants in a health examination in a rural coastal community in Japan. The mean dietary selenium intake calculated from the simple food frequency questionnaire (SFFQ) was 127.5 micrograms/day. Fish was the major source of dietary selenium and it contributed to 68.7% of the daily total. HDL cholesterol was higher in the middle selenium intake group and in the high selenium intake group than in the low selenium intake group in all subjects and for males, and a significant difference was found between the middle selenium intake group and the low selenium intake group. The atherogenic index was significantly higher in the low selenium intake group than in the middle selenium intake group and in the high selenium intake group in males. GPx activity, total cholesterol and triacylglycerols did not show any significant differences among the three different selenium intake groups. Dietary intake of non-fish Se had a positive correlation with HDL cholesterol, and an inverse correlation with the atherogenic index in all subjects and for females. On the other hand, dietary intake of fish-Se had no relationship with any serum lipids. Non-fish Se is an important factor in selenium status for the prevention of CHD.