A cross-sectional analytical study was undertaken to investigate the macronutrient intake and cardiovascular risk factor profile of community-dwelling older coloured (mixed descent) South Africans. A sample of 200 subjects aged 65 years and above in Cape Town was randomly drawn using a two-stage cluster design. Trained fieldworkers interviewed subjects to obtain demographic, dietary and life-style data, to draw fasting blood samples for the analysis of plasma lipids, and to take anthropometric measurements. Nutrient intake was assessed using a validated quantified food frequency questionnaire. Blood pressure was measured according to the guidelines of the American Heart Association. The mean daily energy intake was 7 984 (3 245) kJ and 6 979 (2219) kJ for men and women, respectively. Twenty-nine per cent of the subjects had energy intakes less than two-thirds of the RDA. Dietary fat intake comprised 32.4% of total energy intake, which is in line with the prudent dietary guidelines. The inadequate fibre intake (mean = 17(8) g/day) was attributed to the low consumption of fruit and vegetables. Anthropometric assessment indicated that the women tended towards overnutrition, while the men appeared to be undernourished. Lipid profiles fell within the lower end of the moderate risk band for cardiovascular disease and a high prevalence of hypertension (71.7%) was identified. The survey findings indicate a need for health promotion activities to encourage increased physical activity levels and an increased consumption of vegetables, fruit, wholegrain cereals and low fat dairy products in this population.