Quiz Could Tell You How Long You'll Live

10:23 PM, Feb 24, 2005   |    comments
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Your date with destiny. It's the ultimate secret. What if you could find out how long you're expected to live, almost to the month! Millions of people are now doing just that thanks to a simple quiz. More: Take The Quiz Face it. Who wants to know when they're going to die? Some experts say we all should, that giving lifespan thought now, may actually help make it longer! Renowned longevity expert doctor Thomas Perls developed an online quiz called the Healthspan Calculator. It's designed to show your life helps determine your death. "We needed to come up with albeit a gimmicky way to really attune people to this notion that there was a lot they could do to improve their health and life expectancies," says Dr. Perls. How does the test work? Dr. Perls says most healthy people are genetically engineered to live to about 88. That's the starting point. "Depending upon your answers, you're either going to add some years to that or you're going to subtract some years. That's pretty much how i think people should conduct their lives in terms of thinking about their health," says Dr. Perls. The first question is about gender. Women overall live 10 years longer than men. And there are questions about lifestyle. "If you do smoke and you mark it here on the calculator, it takes 15 years right off the bat," says Dr. Perls. The quiz puts a big emphasis on weight. "One of the things that accompanies aging is just production of fat and so much of how we age relates to whether or not we have fat," says Dr. Perls. In all, there are about 40 questions. To get some perspective, we asked two people with different health status and lifestyles to get a read on their mortality. Let's start with 63-year old diabetic Thomas Troiano. "How do you usually cope with your stress? Not very good. How many servings of processed meats or fast foods do you eat each week? None," says Troiano. The quiz then tallies your answers and reveals your magic number! It says Thomas will live to the ripe old age of 84.5, although the quiz's personalized tips tell him how to improve that number. "I need to exercise more and lose some weight," says Troiano. How accurate can the calculator be? Dr. Richard Roberts with the American Academy of Family Physicians says the quiz is medically sound. He urges people to see it as a first step. "A quiz like this can be a very useful tool when people take the information and sit down with their physician and develop a plan for improving their health behavior," says Dr. Roberts. Doctor Perls says the quiz is not meant to be exact, but to be a wakeup call for everyone. "The world can be their oyster if they take good care of themselves," says Dr. Perls. Dr. Perls says people can take the quiz more than once, and should play around with their responses to see how healthy choices can add years to their lives.


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