Let’s face it. The older we get, the more we think about our mortality. I’m sure many of you are wondering how long you have to live and how many years will be healthy ones.
If you could find out your life expectancy, would you want to know? Would you be willing to adopt a more healthy lifestyle to add on a few more years?
Scientists at the University of Connecticut have developed an online calculator that can determine how many healthy years you have left.
While you may think it’s all about you, information like this also impacts the medical industry and society. Your health and those in your community influence medical costs, financial planning and health support services.
Measuring this quality of life is referred to as "healthy life expectancy" and "unhealthy life expectancy." An unhealthy life is a severe enough form of disablement that there’s no recovery. It’s the way you remain until death.
Adding "healthy life expectancy" and "unhealthy life expectancy" together gets you the grand total of years you have left.
How the calculation works
Scientists give an example of a 60-year-old man who eats healthy, exercises regularly, sleeps at least eight hours a night and has a healthy body mass index.
The calculator suggests he could have another 13 years of healthy living compared to someone not as healthy.
Interesting since there’s a big difference in healthy life expectancy that’s influenced by lifestyle choices, something each person has control over.
Two factors we don’t have control over are our age and gender but it still impacts our healthy life expectancy. How long we can expect to live obviously decreases with age. Women typically live longer and healthier than men.
Diet, exercise and sufficient sleep all positively impact our healthy life expectancy along with education, income, our own mental state of our health, moderate alcohol consumption, not smoking and not being diabetic. The more money you make and the more education you have, the higher your healthy life expectancy. Having a positive attitude about your health also helps.
Factors not taken into account include your level of stress, how positive your attitude is toward life and social connections.
Do you want to know?
This is the first time a measurement tool like this has been available. Obviously, it’s still a little early to determine the accuracy of the calculations. It’s simply an educated prediction. Scientists, though, have been careful to model their assumptions on actuarial sources to make sure results are logical and consistent.
Scientists plan to expand their studies and look into how healthy life expectancy can help with retirement financial planning. For example, discretionary retirement spending should happen during healthy years; basic expense spending increases during unhealthy years.
Based on all of this information, are you curious about how many healthy years you have left? Do you want to find out?
While we’re growing older, there are ages where we peak at doing everything.