BACKGROUND/AIMS: There are racial and geographic disparities in stroke mortality, with higher rates among African Americans (AAs) and those living in the southeastern US ('stroke belt'). Racial and geographic differences in dyslipidemia prevalence, awareness, treatment and control may, in part, account for the observed disparities in stroke mortality. METHODS: Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) is a national observational study of community-dwelling black and white participants aged 45 and older, with oversampling from the stroke belt. As of January 15, 2007, 26,122 participants were enrolled and a fasting lipid panel was available of 21,068. Awareness, treatment and control of dyslipidemia were estimated overall and compared across race-sex-region strata. RESULTS: There were 55% of the participants with dyslipidemia and no racial differences in prevalence. Adjusting for demographic and established stroke risk factors, AAs had a lower prevalence (OR 0.74; 95% CI: 0.66, 0.77) and were less likely to be aware (0.69; 0.61, 0.78), treated (0.77; 0.67, 0.89) and controlled (0.67; 0.58, 0.77) than whites. There was lower control outside of the stroke belt (0.87; 0.76, 0.99). CONCLUSION: Racial, but not geographic, differences in dyslipidemia management may play a role in the excess stroke burden in the Southeast.