The simplest way to find out how healthy people are is to ask them. The question: "Would you rate your health as excellent, very good, good, fair or poor?" is quick and easy (and cheap) to administer, and correlates well with more objective indicators of health (such as subsequent death). But there are significant cross-national differences in response patterns. Canadians are much less likely than Americans to provide extreme responses - excellent or poor. International comparisons yield more striking examples. Americans rate their health among the highest in the OECD, despite mortality measures that are among the worst. The Japanese, with the world's best mortality measures, rate their health near the bottom. Can self-reports be standardized for these cultural effects?