While everyone has a life span, you also have a health span, which is the number of years you will live in good health.
This handy online calculator shows both your actual health age and the years remaining.
Experts from Vitality and RAND Europe have developed an algorithm that takes age, gender and lifestyle into account to determine your actual health age.
Research from Vitality found that people in the UK have been sick an average of 12 years – that’s 14 percent longer than in 1990.
It found that an average of 16 percent of a woman’s life and 13 percent of a man’s life are spent in illness.
Experts say the increasing number of years in poor health is mainly due to the increasing prevalence of chronic and lifestyle-related illnesses such as diabetes, musculoskeletal disorders and mental health, as well as increases in certain risk factors such as BMI (body mass index) at a younger age.
Depending on your age and lifestyle, small adjustments to your diet and more exercise can help you live longer.
While the calculator shows your actual health age, it also tells you how long you have left to live and how many of those years you might be in poor health – so use it.
First visit the online calculator page and click on “Let’s go”.
From here you will be asked a whole range of health questions, starting with your gender and your birth.
You will then be asked about your weekly exercise habits as well as your oxygen levels and your cardiovascular fitness.
Remember to answer the questions as honestly as possible for an accurate representation of your health.
The next set of questions is all about nutrition and you will be asked about your servings of grains, legumes, nuts and seeds, fruits, vegetables, red meat, processed meat, sweetened beverages and your salt consumption.
Next, you will be asked about your height, weight, blood pressure and whether you are going to see a doctor and have any drugs prescribed for high blood pressure.
Other questions include, for example, your cholesterol level, your fasting glucose level and whether or not you are currently receiving medical treatment for diabetes.
When it comes to your lifestyle, it will ask how much alcohol you drink each week, whether you smoke, and how much you sleep.
The algorithm then calculates your results, which show how many years you have left and how many of those years you will be in illness.
You will then also receive personalized health recommendations, such as
If you have a BMI over 25, it is recommended that you lose weight.
Dr. Katie Tryon, Vitality’s chief engagement officer, said, “Everyone is familiar with the concept of lifespan, but not many of us know we have health margins.
“Now, to improve the health of individuals and populations, we need to help people understand the behaviors they can adopt at different ages and stages in life.
“The sooner you start, the greater the reward. For a 30-year-old, relatively unhealthy woman, our research has shown that lowering systolic blood pressure to a healthy range and including 20 minutes of vigorous exercise per day can increase her health span by more than four years.
“But adopting healthier behaviors at every stage can have a big impact.”