The current prevalence of coronary atherosclerosis was investigated in 174 necropsic studies performed on males who died violently between 1984 and 1986 in Mexico City. In young adults, coronary atherosclerosis was found in 35% of the cases, 5% of whom had significant obstruction in one coronary vessel. In subjects aged 50-69 years, coronary atherosclerosis occurred in 69% of the cases and obstructive disease in 24%. Current figures suggest an increase in the severity of coronary atherosclerosis in this population which may be linked with nutritional changes. This makes further investigations, as well as the design of a program for ischemic heart disease prevention in Mexico City imperative.