This study compared multiple sclerosis (MS) patients (n=87) with the general population and with people reporting angina pectoris (n=109), asthma (n=1,353) and diabetes (n=219) regarding health-related quality of life (SF-12), working status and lifestyle factors including smoking, alcohol consumption, body mass index (BMI) and leisure physical activity. The study was cross-sectional and included the birth cohorts from 1950 to 1957 living in Hordaland County, Norway in 1997. A total of 22,312 people participated, yielding a response rate of 65%. The MS patients had a high rate of smoking and a low mean BMI, despite lower leisure physical activity compared with the rest of the study population. This suggests that it may be advisable to increase the focus on smoking, physical activity and the balance between energy intake and use.