PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Non-HDL cholesterol was designated a secondary target of therapy in the recent Adult Treatment Panel III report. This paper reviews correlates of non-HDL cholesterol levels and summarizes the available data on non-HDL cholesterol as a predictor of cardiovascular events as well as data linking treatment-induced changes in non-HDL cholesterol to cardiovascular outcomes. RECENT FINDINGS: Non-HDL cholesterol levels in the population vary by age, sex, and race and are closely linked to measures of adiposity, especially visceral adiposity. Several reports in populations with and without cardiovascular disease have recently been published that document the prognostic utility of non-HDL cholesterol levels. Preliminary data are also available to suggest that pharmacologically induced changes in non-HDL cholesterol levels relate to prognosis. SUMMARY: Non-HDL cholesterol is a potent predictor of cardiovascular risk among a broad range of individuals with and without cardiovascular disease and is prognostic over a wide range of follow-up periods. The impact of pharmacologically induced changes in non-HDL cholesterol on cardiovascular outcomes is less clear and requires further study.