Background: During the past decade, quality of life (QoL) has become an accepted measure of disease impact, therapeutic outcome, and evaluation of interventions. So far, very little is known about the effects of community-based interventions on people's QoL. Therefore, the effect of an integrative cardiovascular diseases community-based intervention programme 'Hartslag Limburg' on QoL after 5-years of intervention is studied.Methods: A longitudinal cohort study comparing 5-year mean change in QoL between the intervention (n = 2356) and reference group (n = 758). QoL outcomes were the physical and mental health composite scores (PCS and MCS) measured by the RAND-36. Analyses were stratified for gender and socio-economic status (SES).Results: After 5-years of intervention we found no difference in mean change in PCS and MCS between the intervention and reference group in both genders and low-SES. However, for the moderate/high SES intervention group, the scales social functioning (-3.6, 95% CI:-6.1 to -1.2), physical role limitations (-5.3, 95% CI:-9.6 to -1.0), general mental health (-3.0, 95% CI:-4.7 to -1.3), vitality (-3.2, 95% CI:-5.1 to -1.3), and MCS (-1.8, 95% CI:-2.9 to -0.6) significantly changed compared with the reference group. These differences were due to a slight decrease of QoL in the intervention group and an increase of QoL in the reference group.Conclusion: Hartslag Limburg has no beneficial effect on people's physical and mental QoL after 5-years of intervention. In fact, subjects in the intervention group with a moderate/high SES, show a decrease on their mental QoL compared with the reference group. © 2011 Verkleij et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.