In this article, we conceptualised fatalism as a set of health beliefs that encompass the dimensions of predetermination, luck and pessimism. A 20-item scale was developed as a measurement instrument. Confirmatory factor analyses were performed to test the dimensionality of the scale. Three external variables (i.e. genetic determinism, perceived benefits of lifestyle change and intention to engage in healthy behaviour) were used as reference variables to test the construct validity of the scale. Data from a web-based national survey (N = 1218) showed that the scale was unidimensional on the second order, and with good reliability (alpha = 0.88). The relationships between the external variables and the first- and second-order factors provided evidence of the scale's external consistency and construct validity.