The purpose of this study was to investigate the joint associations of dietary pattern and television viewing with risk factors of CVD among urban adults in China. A community-based cross-sectional study was conducted among urban adults in Nanjing, China. Five dietary patterns were identified based on a FFQ. Television time was obtained from a standard questionnaire and further classified into two categories (≤7, >7 h/week). Multiple logistic regression was used to calculate the OR and 95 % CI for the separate and joint associations of dietary patterns and television viewing with CVD risk factors. Compared with other dietary patterns, participants who followed the healthy traditional pattern had a lower likelihood of abdominal obesity (AO) (OR 0·52; 95 % CI 0·41, 0·67). Participants watching television no more than 7 h/week presented a 19 and 21 % lower likelihood for hypertension (HT) and elevated total cholesterol (ETC) than those with television time >7 h/week. Individuals who had less television time and a healthy dietary pattern had a lower OR for the presence of AO (OR 0·48; 95 % CI 0·36, 0·65), HT (OR 0·71; 95 % CI 0·66, 0·77), ETC (OR 0·72; 95 % CI 0·57, 0·91) and elevated TAG (OR 0·76; 95 % CI 0·61, 0·95), compared with those who followed other dietary patterns and television time >7 h/week. In conclusion, both healthy traditional pattern and less television time are jointly associated with reduced levels of CVD risk factors. It has important public health implications regarding the precision prevention of CVD at population level.