Objective Prior studies examining coronary atherosclerosis in the young have been limited by retrospective analyses in small cohorts. We examined the relationship between cardiovascular risk factors (RFs) and prevalence and severity of coronary atherosclerosis in a large, prospective, multinational registry of consecutive young individuals undergoing coronary computerized tomographic angiography (CCTA). Method and results Of 27 125 patients undergoing CCTA, 1635 young (<45 years) individuals without known coronary artery disease (CAD) or coronary anomalies were identified. Coronary plaque was assessed for any CAD, obstructive CAD (>= 50% stenosis), and presence of calcified plaque (CP) and non-calcified plaque (NCP). Among 1635 subjects (70% men, age 38 +/- 6 years), any CAD, obstructive CAD, CP, and NCP were observed in 19, 4, 5, and 8%, respectively. Compared with women, men demonstrated higher rates of any CAD (21 vs. 12%, P < 0.001), CP (6 vs. 3%, P = 0.01), and NCP (9 vs. 5%, P = 0.008), although no difference was observed for rates of obstructive CAD (5 vs. 4%, P = 0.46). Any CAD, obstructive CAD, and NCP were higher for young individuals with diabetes, hypertension, dyslipidaemia, current smoking, or family history of CAD; while only diabetes and dyslipidaemia were associated with CP. Increasing cardiovascular RFs was associated with a greater prevalence and extent and severity of CAD, with individuals with 0, 1, 2, >= 3 RFs manifesting a dose-response increase in any CAD (P < 0.001, for trend), obstructive CAD P < 0.001, for trend), NCP (P < 0.001, for trend), and CP (P < 0.001, for trend). In multivariable analysis adjusting for sex and cardiovascular RFs, male sex was the strongest predictor for any CAD(odds ratio [OR] = 1.95, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.43-2.66, P < 0.001), CP (OR = 1.46, 95% CI = 1.08-1.98, P = 0.01), and NCP (OR = 1.33, 95% CI = 1.06-1.67, P = 0.01); family history of CAD was the strongest predictor for obstructive CAD (OR = 2.71, 95% CI = 1.65-4.45, P < 0.001). Conclusion Any and obstructive CAD is present in 1 in 5 and 1 in 20 young individuals, respectively, with family history associated with the greatest risk of obstructive CAD.