Recent prospective studies have demonstrated that elevated C-reactive protein (CRP) is a marker of increased risk of atherothrombotic clinical events. We examined in a large, cross-sectional family-based study (n = 875 men, 948 women) whether serum CRP was associated with prevalent coronary heart disease (CHD), the ankle/brachial blood pressure index, or carotid intima-media thickness, an indicator of subclinical atherosclerosis as assessed by B-mode ultrasound. CRP was associated with many other cardiovascular risk factors, particularly markers of obesity and insulin resistance, markers of inflammation and acute phase reaction, and hormone replacement therapy. Adjusted for age and family type, there was a weak positive association of CRP with carotid intima-media thickness in both genders and with prevalent CHD in women. However, adjustment for other risk factors completely eliminated the associations. For example, among women, the risk factor-adjusted mean values of intima-media thickness across quartiles of CRP were 0.76, 0.74, 0.75, and 0.76 mm (p <0.5). In men there was a weak inverse association between CRP and ankle/brachial blood pressure index, independent of other risk factors, but no such association in women. Our findings indicate that CRP is not strongly and independently associated with prevalent atherosclerosis. Because CRP has been associated with clinical events, it could be that elevated CRP may be a stronger marker of thrombotic risk than of the degree of atherosclerosis.