OBJECTIVE Childhood and young adulthood may represent time periods in which cardiovascular risk factors (CVRFs) and their cumulative exposure lay the foundation for future risk of chronic diseases. We examined the longitudinal burden of CVRFs since childhood in men and women in whom diabetes did and did not develop at follow-up. RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS We included 1,530 participants (mean [SD] follow-up time 33.1 [8.2] years), who participated in the Bogalusa Heart Study and had been examined at least four times starting in childhood (mean age [SD] at first examination 9.4 [3.1] years). The area under the growth curve was used as a measure of cumulative exposure to CVRFs since childhood. RESULTS In childhood, boys and girls in whom diabetes did and did not develop at follow-up had similar CVRFs. Yet, over time, women during the transition from normoglycemia to diabetes experienced greater adverse changes in total cholesterol (TC), LDL cholesterol, and fasting plasma glucose (FPG) (noted as early as 23.5 years old and persisting across adulthood up to the age of the diagnosis of diabetes); a higher burden of exposure to BMI, TC, LDL cholesterol, and FPG from childhood to midlife; and a greater change in rates of BMI, TC, LDL cholesterol, and FPG since childhood than men during the same transition (interaction P values <0.05). CONCLUSIONS The greater exposure of women to and burden of CVRFs associated with diagnosis of diabetes may help to explain the stronger impact of diabetes as a major risk factor for cardiovascular events in women compared with men.