Knowledge of cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk factors in young patients who experienced myocardial infarction (MI) is poorly described. Knowledge of traditional CVD risk factors, non-fatal cardiovascular events and of non-pharmacological factors able to reduce CVD risk and education level were evaluated by questionnaires in subjects who visited their family doctors. Sixty-one participants with history of MI in age <50 years (MI+) were compared with 3749 subjects with age <50 years, from the same population source, but without history of MI (MI-). MI+ were more frequently men (p<0.01), did not have significantly higher prevalences of family history of CVD, diabetes and hypertension. MI+ individuals reported previous non-fatal stroke (13% vs. 0.5%, p<0.001), overweight, diabetes, and hypercholesterolemia (all p<0.001) more frequently than controls, whereas prevalence of arterial hypertension, smoking habit and physical inactivity did not differ between the two groups; MI+ and MI- individuals did not differ in terms of the proportion of those who were unaware of being hypertensive, diabetic or hypercholesterolemic. MI+ participants reported more frequently lower education level than controls (p<0.05). Knowledge of non-pharmacological approach for CVD risk reduction was similar in MI+ and MI-. In a logistic multivariate analysis, male gender (adjusted odds ratio=5.8) and high cholesterol level (adjusted odds ratio 2.8, both p<0.01) were independent correlates of MI+. CVD risk factors distribution was similar between participants with juvenile MI+ and MI in age >or=50 years (n=167) extracted from the same population source; however, stroke was reported more frequently in juvenile MI+ than in those who had MI at age >or=50 years/old (13% vs. 4%, p<0.01). Juvenile non-fatal MI was associated with metabolic CVD risk factors, with higher cerebrovascular co-morbidity and lower education level.