Abstract Objectives: To examine lifestyle and clinical risk factors for metabolic syndrome (MBO) and compare their significance between levels of self-rated health among middle-aged men. Design: A cross-sectional baseline study. Sample: 273 men, aged 40, living in Helsinki, Finland. Methods: Postal questionnaires and health examinations by public health nurses were used in data collection. Statistical differences between groups of self-rated health and risk factors were analyzed by chi-square tests. Results: Of all the respondents, 55% rated their health as good and 45% as average. Two thirds were overweight or obese, and 35% had waist-hip ratio more than 100 cm. Approximately 43% had diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mmHg. Over half of the men smoked daily, and 28% used alcohol excessively. Conclusions: The men in this sample were found to be at high risk of developing MBO. The results underscore the importance of understanding the contradiction that exists between subjective and objective health ratings. Public health nurses are in a key position to educate men on how to use simple measurements to objectively assess their risk factors and, thus, potentially reduce their risk of developing diabetes, heart attack, or stroke.