A lot of longevity calculators are out there. I decided to do a systematic test. I found a willing friend and had him use a few longevity calculators. We made a note of his life expectancy, the experience of the test and what recommendations were given. Overall, results varied from my friend's life expectancy being 84 to 96.2 (he liked that one best). These tests are based on real numbers, but lots of assumptions are made. Focus not on the actual number of years, but on understanding which of your habits are healthy (and you should keep) and which ones you should change.
On RealAge, my friend scored a "biological age" 11.7 years younger than his calendar age. Add that to the average life expectancy of about 78 for an overall life expectancy of 89.7. The RealAge test took about 20 minutes and additional pieces of information were needed (cholesterol scores, blood pressure numbers and even vitamin contents). My friend said he had to pay a lot of attention to questions and read the test carefully. The results page gave detailed and helpful suggestions.
This longevity calculator was the favorite of my tester. It gave him a life expectancy of 96.2. It took only 4 minutes to complete and he didn't need any additional information (like cholesterol levels). The test has a nice visual display and works great with updated, fresh graphics. The data gathered is based on a book (called "Blue Zones") that focuses on research from 4 areas of the world where people tend to live longer and healthier than expected. It offers a support community and should soon have programs to help you make change.
"Living to 100" is a book and a website by Thomas Perls. The longevity calculator is based on research that he did in the New England Centenarian Study. My test user scored a life expectancy of 84 years and could improve by 12.5 years if he followed certain recommendations. Overall, this longevity calculator took 5 minutes to complete. The report was good, but it lacked resources to help make changes after getting the results.
The EONS test (EONS is a social networking community targeting boomers) is really the same as the "Living to 100" longevity calculator. It has more resources than the "Living to 100" calculator. My friend's results were the same -- a life expectancy of 84 with more than 12 additional years if he made some changes.
This "longevity game" took about 2 minutes to play. It had fun graphics that changed the look of a person as the user answered each question. It gave my friend a life expectancy of 90. There were little to no helpful suggestions, explanations or recommendations. Some of the questions were unclear -- my friend said he had to guess a bit at the best choice. This longevity calculator is popular and is sponsored by Northwestern Mutual Financial Network.
Click on the link above and go to the forum to report your test results from the different longevity calculators. What do you think? Do these calculators really work or is it all just hype?