Aim To explore the genetic and environmental influences on cardiovascular risk factors (CVRF) and cognitive function in the world's largest and rapidly aging Chinese population. Methods Cognitive function and CVRF, including body mass index, systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, glucose, total cholesterol, triglyceride, high‐density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDLC) and low‐density lipoprotein cholesterol were measured in 379 complete twin pairs. Univariate and bivariate twin models were fitted to estimate the genetic and environmental components in the variance and covariance of CVRF and cognition. Results Mild‐to‐high heritability was estimated for CVRF and cognition (0.27–0.74). Unique environmental factors showed low‐to‐moderate contributions (0.23–0.56). Only HDLC presented significant common environmental contribution (0.50). Bivariate analysis showed significantly negative genetic correlations (rG) between cognition and systolic blood pressure (rG = −0.56), diastolic blood pressure (rG = −0.42), pulse pressure (rG = −0.45), and positive genetic correlations between cognition and total cholesterol (rG = 0.33), triglyceride (rG = 0.23) and HDLC (rG = 0.41). HDLC and cognition presented a unique environmental correlation (rE = −0.13), but in the opposite direction. Conclusions Cognitive function was genetically related to systolic blood pressure, diastolic blood pressure, pulse pressure, total cholesterol, triglyceride and HDLC with a negative or positive direction. Cognition and HDLC might share part of a similar unique environmental factor. Geriatr Gerontol Int 2017; ••: ••–••.