Life Expectancy Tests: How Accurate Are They?
We’ve found that centenarians are the fastest growing segment of the population. Having read about more than one of these 100-year old “Super Seniors” you are probably wondering what are your own chances of really joining that club? While living to 100 years of age is becoming more common, the average life expectancy in the UK is still in the double digits for both men and women. A boy born in the UK today will on average live to around 77 and girls to about 81. The odds of living to 100 may be improving, but are still a bit of a long shot. Chances of reaching the 100th birthday for a boy is around 18% - for girls it’s a bit better about 24%. But is there a way to determine if we are in the running, or if we are not going to reach the ultimate title of centenarian, just how much time have we got till the ”finish line”? According to Thomas Perls, Director of The New England Centenarian Project there is.
The Longevity Calculator
Dr. Perls has taken the results of his research with centenarians and developed a longevity calculator that he feels yields quite accurate results. The test, which takes about 5-10 minutes to complete online, asks a series of lifestyle and medical questions. The calculator then not only delivers the age one can expect to achieve based on the information put in, but more importantly it yields information on what the person taking the test can do to add years to that figure no matter what the result.
This reporter is happy to say that I achieved a result of 90, my wife who is the typical “health fanatic” and follows many of the tenets of the centenarians in terms of diet and lifestyle, received a score of 103. She says she’ll miss me. In her case I can really believe the result. Her parents just celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary, and her father, a retired physician, still puts in three days at his clinic at 94 years of age. In my case, my father did die rather young, at 67 of prostate cancer. But taking that into account, I exercise regularly, avoid red meat, eat a lean diet, and do not smoke – and thankfully that hard work seems like it may actually pay off!
So What’s Your Score?
Dr. Perls says that most people who take the test today score in their late 80’s, and that seems to be consistent with today’s average life expectancies in the UK and the US. But of course he says the results are to be taken as a guideline to improve your health, or keep up what you are doing right and do not come with any guarantees. Some people take the test on a whim, and do not take it too seriously. Others have taken the test and have made serious lifestyle changes, like quitting smoking, or changing eating habits. Did you know that something as simple as flossing your teeth everyday can add 1 or more years to your score? You may want to keep that in mind if you are only a year or two off the centenarian mark, and want to improve your odds. It may just payoff in more ways than one. 10 years ago at 90 UK resident Alec Holden placed a bet of £100 with a book maker at 250-1 odds that he would see his 100th birthday, recently Alec picked up a check for £25,000 much to the chagrin of odds-maker William Hill.
You can take the test at http://www.livingto100.com/