The aim of this study was to assess the relations between self-rated health (SRH), socioeconomic status (SES), body mass index (BMI) and disability pension. Five birth-year cohorts of middle-aged male residents in Malmö, Sweden, were invited and 5313 with complete data constituted the cohort in this study. Each subject was followed for approximately 11 years. Of all subjects, 73% perceived their health as perfect and among obese men and blue collar workers, the corresponding figures were 67 and 68% respectively. The adjusted odds ratios for SRH less than perfect was 1.3 (CI: 1.1-1.7) for obese subjects and 1.7 (CI: 1.5-1.9) for blue collar workers. The interaction between low SES and obesity was estimated to 11% which was not statistically significant. The adjusted relative risks (RR) of disability pension was 3.3 for subjects with SRH less than perfect, 2.2 for blue collar workers and 2.0 for obese subjects, all statistically significant and only marginally less than the crude RR. Thus, SRH among middle-aged men was associated with obesity as well as low SES, but no evidence of synergism between obesity and low SES in relation to SRH was found. Furthermore, poor SRH in particular, but also low SES and obesity, independently predicted disability pension.