The global burden of stroke is particularly substantial in low- and middle-income countries. There are several risk factors or determinants of stroke and other cardiovascular diseases that are modifiable and have been shown to reduce the risk of stroke in at-risk persons. The high-risk or individual approach to prevention uses screening to identify such persons and medication is then usually required; however, to affect change in risk in a community, a population or mass approach is required to shift the community population to a lower risk profile. The community approach is usually accomplished through legislation, health education and wider economic means. In this review, the authors discuss the population approach to primary stroke prevention.