BACKGROUND: Assessing public knowledge concerning stroke and its risk factors is the starting point in developing the effective stroke prevention program. The aim of this study was to investigate the awareness of stroke risk factors and factors influencing it. METHODS: All who participated in the second stroke prevention campaign were encouraged to answer the survey. It was performed using a standard questionnaire designed to assess the awareness of stroke risk factors, its correlation with usual demographic characteristics, history of stroke, and self-assessment of stroke risk. The number of established risk factors on an open question estimated the awareness of stroke risk factors. RESULTS: Nationwide 4065 persons took part in the campaign and 43% of them (1749) responded the survey (age=65.4+/-12.2, male=34.2%). A total of 986 responders (56.4%) correctly listed at least one of the established stroke risk factors to open question. Age and schooling were the significant predictors for listing at least one of the established stroke risk factors on multivariate analysis. Number of classic risk factors of stroke in each subject was significantly correlated with self-assessment of stroke risk. Most of the individual risk factors of stroke were also correlated with self-assess-ment of stroke risk but smoking and old age (65 years or more) were not. CONCLUSIONS: This study suggests that the level of stroke risk awareness in Korea is not high, especially among the elderly and the lowly educated. The systematic public education program is warranted.