Perceived or self-rated general health in its trait form reliably predicts subsequent mortality among certain sections of the community. In an investigation of the predictive value of health status at the time of assessment, 574 cases drawn from five groups (police trainees, firemen, students, out-patients and in-patients) were used to validate what we have called current perceived health (CPH) and the CPH-42, a measure of CPH is described. Results indicate those rating their CPH as poorer were more likely to consult a doctor (chi-squared=45.9, df=1, p < 0.0000) and use medication (chi-squared=61.0, df=1, p < 0.0000). In comparison, general perceived health ratings did not predict either consultation or medication use. The instrument has good psychometric properties, with high divergent validity from general mental health and general health, with a Guttman split-half reliability > 0.79. Discriminant analysis using the CPH-42 achieved high correct classification rates (up to 100%). Comparison of a scoring method based on canonical coefficients (83% correct classification) with that based on summative scores (74% correct classification) indicate the former method to be more accurate. Age, and among people 40 years or older, gender were significant independent predictors of current perceived health status, with older people rating their current health less positively than younger, and females over 40 years rating their current health less positively than their male counterparts.