Identification and management of cardiovascular (CV) risk factors are essential to help prevent CV disease and slow its progression. Long-term epidemiologic data show that hypertension is associated with a two- to four-fold increase in CV morbidity and mortality; moreover, antihypertensive therapy has been proven to significantly reduce the risk of CV events. Clinical trial data also suggest that different antihypertensive agents generally provide similar reductions in CV risks and outcomes. Beta blockers have historically played an integral role in hypertension treatment, particularly among patients at high CV risk; however, a recent meta-analysis, based primarily on the use of atenolol, found that β blockers may provide less clinical benefit as initial therapy than other classes of antihypertensive agents. Beta blockers are heterogeneous, and atenolol data may not be representative of other β blockers. Newer β blockers, which provide both cardioselective β2-adrenergic receptor blockade and endothelium-dependent vasodilation, may prove to be more effective in reducing CV morbidity and mortality. Intensive strategies to control global CV risk have been shown to significantly reduce CV events. The challenge remains to develop effective risk assessment tools to identify at-risk patients who often go undetected.