AIMS: To generalize findings from a nursing population to the general female population, the aim of this study was to compare lifestyle and health among Danish female nurses with that among Danish women. Furthermore, the aim was to compare lifestyle and health among Danish female nurses with women belonging to the same socio-economic group as nurses. METHODS: Danish females above the age of 44 in 1999 (n = 22,715) were compared with a group of women from the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey conducted in 2000 (n = 4,445). Age standardized risk ratios (SRR) with 95% confidence intervals were calculated to compare the two groups. RESULTS: Nurses smoke less (SRR 0.74, CI: 0.70-0.78) and are more physically active (SRR 2.53, CI: 2.31-2.77) when compared with the general female population. A higher percentage of nurses consume five drinks or more on a weekday compared with the general female population (SRR 2.68, CI: 2.25-3.19). When comparing nurses with women belonging to the same socio-economic group, these differences are also found to be statistically significant, but no differences are found according to overweight/obesity, self-reported health and limitations in daily activities when nurses are compared with women belonging to the same socio-economic group. CONCLUSIONS: In general, Danish nurses have a healthier lifestyle than other Danish women. In future studies, differences and similarities in lifestyle and health between nurses and other women should be considered when generalizing findings from Danish nurses to the Danish female population.