The Minnesota Heart Health Program (MHHP) is a research and demonstration project of population-wide primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Study goals are to achieve reductions in cardiovascular disease risk factors and morbidity and mortality in three education communities compared with three reference communities. The program in the first of the three intervention communities, Mankato, has been operating for 3 of the planned 5 years. Early objectives of the program have been achieved based on data obtained from population-based random samples surveyed in education and comparison communities. After 2 years of participation, Mankato was significantly more exposed to activities promoting cardiovascular disease prevention. In this town of 38,000 inhabitants, 190 community leaders were directly involved as program volunteers, 14,103 residents (over 60% of adults) attended a screening education center, 2,094 attended MHHP health education classes, 42 of 65 physicians and 728 other health professionals participated in continuing education programs offered by MHHP, and distribution of printed media averaged 12.2 pieces per household. These combined educational strategies have resulted in widespread awareness of MHHP and participation by the majority of the Mankato adult population in its education activities.