BACKGROUND: More attention is given to oxidative hypothesis which causes atherosclerosis to be recognized as inflammatory response. The relationship between serum ferritin which catalyzes lipid peroxidation and high sensitivity C-reactive protein which reflects vascular inflammation was investigated among adults in a health promotion center. METHODS: The study group consisted of 297 men and women (men 86, women 211) who visited the health promotion center of a hospital in Seoul to have a health checkup from October 1, 2004 to April 1, 2005. These subjects answered the questionnares and were measured in the following; blood tests, brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity and several anthropometric measurements. Statistical analysis was performed on 111 subjects after exclusion of those subjects who were taking antihypertensive agents or antidiabetic agents, and who had acute inflammatory diseases, acute liver diseases, anemia, and who had a WBC > or =11,000x10(3)/mm3 or a serum ferritin > or =200 ug/L or a ABI (Ankle Brachial Index) <0.9. RESULTS: The average serum ferritin concentration of men against women was 132.57+/-43.12 ng/ml to 78.23+/-38.10 ng/ml which means that men have about 1.7 times as high concentration than women (P<0.001). Serum ferritin was significantly correlated with high sensitivity C-reactive protein (r=0.332). Even in multiple stepwise regression analysis, there was a independent relationship between serum ferritin and high sensitivity C-reactive protein (beta=0.138, P=0.010). When we analyzed with distinction of sex, this relationship in women was constant (beta=0.131, P=0.031), but serum ferritin in men just showed the trend of correlation with BMI (beta=9.510, P=0.059). CONCLUSION: There is a significant relationship between the increase of serum ferritin and high sensitivity C-reactive protein in healthy women; furthermore, studies in men need to be confirmed.