To ascertain whether older (masters) athletes exhibit a more favorable plasma lipoprotein/lipid profile than sedentary men of similar age, 14 endurance-trained masters athletes (mean age 60 ± 2 years [± standard error of the mean]), 12 older, untrained-not lean men (mean age 62 ± 1 years), 9 older untrained-lean men (mean age 61 ± 2 years), 15 young endurance-trained athletes (mean age 26 ± 1 years) and 15 young untrained men (mean age 28 ± 1 years) were studied. The athletes had higher values for maximal oxygen uptake and lower levels of body fatness compared with the untrained men, regardless of age (p <0.05). High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol was markedly higher in the masters athletes than in the other groups (66 vs 42 to 55 mg/dl, p <0.05). The total cholesterol (TC) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations of the masters athletes generally were higher than those of the younger groups, similar to those of the older lean men, and lower than those of the older-not lean men (p <0.05). The TC/HDL cholesterol ratios were similarly low (2.8 to 3.4) for the athletes and the young untrained men compared with the older untrained men (4.0 to 5.6) (p <0.05). Thus, some older endurance athletes exhibit markedly higher HDL cholesterol levels and lower TC/HDL cholesterol ratios compared with their sedentary peers. This favorable plasma lipoprotein profile may indicate a reduced risk of developing coronary artery disease for older men who exercise regularly.