The San Francisco Project is a prospective study aiming to determine the most important cardiovascular risk factors in the Chilean population. To report the results of the San Francisco Project after a mean follow up of five years. Between 1997 and 1999, 920 subjects (aged 39.5 +/- 16.3 years, 382 males), free of cardiovascular events, were examined to determine their cardiovascular risk factors. The prevalence of risk factors was compared with the Chilean National Health Survey. All non fatal cardiovascular events were registered until 2003. A logistic regression model including gender, obesity, family history, educational level and classical cardiovascular risk factors, was performed to identify independent predictors of cardiovascular events. The prevalence of cardiovascular risk factors in the studied population was similar to that of the Chilean National Health Survey, except for serum lipid levels, that were lower in the latter. The mean follow up was 5.3 +/- 0.3 years (range 4-6 years), and 26 cardiovascular events were registered. The independent predictors of these events were age, with a relative risk (RR) of 4.3 and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 1.9 to 9.5 (p <0.001), high blood pressure with a RR of 5.2 (95% CI 2.3-11.7, p <0.001), diabetes mellitus with a RR of 4.5 (95% CI 1.9-10.7, p <0.01) and a low socioeconomic level with a RR of 3.5 (95% CI 1.5-7.9, p <0.01). The model did not accept serum lipid levels, smoking and alcohol intake as independent predictors. In this cohort of Chilean people, the independent predictors of non fatal cardiovascular events were high blood pressure, diabetes mellitus and a low socioeconomic level.