Mortalities from cardiovascular disease in Korea have decreased markedly over the past three decades. The major cardiovascular and metabolic risk factors, however, remain prevalent, and their burden on health is large. The Cardiovascular and Metabolic Diseases Etiology Research Center (CMERC) planned a cohort study in order to identify novel risk factors and to develop evidence-based prevention strategies of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. The CMERC deliberately designed two prospective cohorts, a community-based general population cohort (the CMERC cohort) and its sister cohort (a hospital-based high-risk patient cohort), covering a broad spectrum of cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. This paper describes the CMERC cohort study of community-dwelling adults aged 30 to 64 years. A total of 8097 adults completed baseline measurement between 2013 and 2018. Base-line measurements assessed socio-demographic factors, medical history, health-related behaviors, psychological health, social network and support, anthropometry, body composition, and resting blood pressure and comprised electrocardiography, carotid artery ultrasonography, fasting blood analysis, and urinalysis. Both active follow-up through an annual telephone survey and a 5-year on-site health examination survey and passive follow-up through secondary data linkage with national databases, such as national death records, have been applied. Researchers interested in collaborative research may contact the corresponding author.