Abstract The purpose of this study was to examine dietary patterns and cardiovascular risk factors in Hispanic adults living in Southwest Detroit. A descriptive design was used. Self-report baseline data were collected using The Rate Your Plate and Personal Health Risk Assessment questionnaires. A nonrandom sample of 32 Mexican American adults was recruited from a large Roman Catholic Church in Southwest Detroit. Participants were selected if they were enrolled in the larger parent research study to test the effects of a lay health educator intervention and planned to participate in the nutrition education portion of the intervention. Unhealthy eating patterns outnumbered heart healthy eating practices. The majority used higher fat salad dressings; ate fried foods, sweets, and high fat snacks; consumed greater than the desired amounts of regular cheese; drank whole milk; and ate few fruits and vegetables. Lack of physical activity, being overweight, and exposure to second-hand smoke were the most prevalent cardiovascular risk factors. The data suggest that effective community-based heart disease prevention programs that emphasize risk factor screening and cardiovascular risk reduction through heart healthy eating are needed.