The present study aimed to investigate the possible mechanisms linking a single–item measure of global self-rated health (SRH) with morbidity by comparing the association strengths between SRH with markers of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function, inflammation, blood glucose and blood lipids. Cross–sectional comprehensive health–check data of 3947 working adults (age 42±11) was used to calculate logistic regressions, partial correlations and compare correlation strength using Olkins Z. Adjusted logistic regression models showed a negative association between SRH (higher values indicating worse health) and measures of heart rate variability (HRV). Glycemic markers were positively associated with poor SRH. No adjusted association was found with inflammatory markers, BP or lipids. In both unadjusted and adjusted linear models Pearson’s correlation strength was significantly higher between SRH with HRV measures compared to SRH with other biomarkers. This is the first study investigating the association of ANS function and SRH. We showed that a global measure of SRH is associated with HRV, and that all measures of ANS function were significantly more strongly associated with SRH than any other biomarker. The current study supports the hypothesis that the extent of brain–body communication, as indexed by HRV, is associated with self-rated health.