Your health or body age can be in stark contrast to your chronological age. It can either be younger or older than you really are. The body or health age test examines many factors related to your overall health and the shape you are in. It can be a real eye-opener!
“Health age”: a modern concept
“Health age” is a modern concept, but in essence it is a calculation of your life expectancy given the condition of your body and the lifestyle that you follow. Many factors have an influence on how long you can be expected to live and these factors are taken into account when your health age is estimated.
Your health, lifestyle and habits have a dramatic effect on your life expectancy. For instance, a 40 year old man who smokes, is highly stressed, sleeps only five hours per night and is overweight could be the equivalent in health to a 48-year-old man who does not share these habits and lifestyle conditions. This is called your “health age” or body age and can be in stark contrast to your chronological age.
The great advantage of a health age calculation is that you can start doing something about the problems areas to lessen their impact on your life expectancy.
Calculating your “health age”
The following factors can have a dramatic effect on the calculation of your health age:
- Geographic location: A person living in a war zone area or an area prone to natural disasters has a shorter life expectancy than someone living in a peaceful, disaster-free country.
- Gender: Women live longer than men.
- Personal factors: Chronological age, weight, race, education, exercise and sleep patterns play a role, as well as hereditary traits.
- Health factors such as blood pressure, heart rate, lung capacity, cholesterol, body fat, digestive tract function, usage of birth control contraceptives, etc. play a role.
- Medical history: Illnesses you may have suffered and medicines you are taking and family history play a part, for example how long have your grandparents, parents and siblings lived and how healthy or sick were or are they? Does your family have a history of cancer or heart problems?
- Dietary habits: The kind of diet you are following, whether you are eating breakfast and regular meals, as well as your alcohol consumption are taken into account.
- Psychological factors such as happiness, depression, anxiety, relaxation, love and marriage, job satisfaction, social life, etc. play a role.
- Safety measures: Driving habits, seat belt usage, motorcycling, activities such as mountain climbing and skydiving as well as high risk jobs can influence the calculation of your life expectancy.
There are many tests available on the Internet that offer to calculate your health age. These tests could be a first step towards finding out whether perhaps you need to consider a lifestyle change or adopt habits more favourable to longevity and health. If you are concerned about your results, please seek the expert advice of a health care professional.
About your health and fitness age. Retrieved from: http://healthier.qld.gov.au/about-your-health-fitness-age/
Hodgekiss, A. 2013. What’s your real age? Retrieved from:
Revised by M van Os