Background The American Heart Association (AHA) established recommendations based on 7 ideal health behaviors and factors with the goal of improving cardiovascular health (CVH) and reducing both morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease by 20% by 2020. Few studies have investigated their association with subclinical coronary heart disease. We sought to examine whether the 7 AHA CVH metrics were associated with calcified atherosclerotic plaque in the coronary arteries. Methods In a cross-sectional design, we studied 1,731 predominantly white men and women from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Family Heart Study without prevalent coronary heart disease. Diet was assessed by a semiquantitative food frequency questionnaire. Coronary artery calcium (CAC) was measured by cardiac computed tomography. We defined prevalent CAC using an Agatston score of 100+ and fitted generalized estimating equations to calculate prevalence odds ratios of CAC. Results Mean age was 56.8 years, and 41% were male. The median number of ideal CVH metrics was 3, and no participant met all 7. There was a strong inverse relationship between number of ideal CVH metrics and prevalent CAC. Odds ratios (95% CI) for CAC of 100+ were 1.0 (reference), 0.37 (0.29-0.45), 0.35 (0.26-0.44), and 0.27 (0.20-0.36) among subjects with 0 to 1, 2, 3, and 4+ ideal CVH metrics, respectively (P =.0001), adjusting for sex, age, field center, alcohol, income, education, and energy consumption. Conclusions These data demonstrate a strong and graded inverse relationship between AHA ideal CVH metrics and prevalent CAC in adult men and women.