Take the Quiz!
Answer all quiz items as truthfully as possible – in other words, to the best of your knowledge. Don’t guess. Begin with 79 years, then add or subtract years based on the scoring of your answers on each item. Your completed (total) score is a rough estimate of your current life expectancy.
1. Where is your ancestral home? (if not given, enter a score of 0). US = minus 2. Austria-UK = minus 1. Canada-France-Italy = 0. Australia-Singapore-Sweden = plus 2. Japan = plus 3. FACT: Life expectancy varies by nation due to genetic and cultural differences.
2. What is your gender ? Female = plus 1. Male = minus 2. FACT: Life expectancy favors the female gender regardless of culture.
3. Do you have an annual physical exam? Yes = plus 3. No = minus 3. FACT: Many diseases (cancers, hypertension) in later life are asymptomatic, go unnoticed and untreated.
4. Do you have parents, grandparents, or great-grandparents who lived to 85-plus? Add 2 for each 85-plus relative. FACT: Research demonstrates that long-lived parents tend to produce long-living children.
5. Do you volunteer on a weekly basis? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 1.
FACT: Studies confirm that volunteering focuses attention away from ourselves and onto others.
6. Do you live alone? Yes = minus 3. No = 0. FACT: Adults who live alone tend to be less well-nourished, more isolated, and less nurtured.
7. Are you able to laugh at and learn from your mistakes? Yes = plus 1. No = minus 3. FACT: Laughter, humility, and a positive outlooks are linked to increased life expectancy.
8. Do you have a confidant who listens to your most intimate concerns? Yes = plus 1. No = minus 2.
FACT: Confidants offer emotional catharsis and a sense of personal worth to those in crisis.
9. Do you engage in daily mental exercises such as puzzles, games, learning or problem-solving? Yes = plus 4. No = 0. FACT: Individuals that continually challenge their minds suffer fewer cognitive disorders.
10. Do you engage in some form of daily aerobic exercise such as swimming, jogging or biking? Yes = plus 2. No = 0. FACT: Exercising at one’s target heart rate strengthens the heart and boosts metabolism.
11. Do you eat a balanced diet, including fresh fruit, vegetables, and whole grains? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 3. FACT: Balanced dieters experience lower risk of both genetic and culturally related diseases.
12. Do you smoke a pack of cigarettes daily? Yes = minus 5 for men, minus 10 for women. No = 0. FACT: Smoking causes nearly half a million cancer and lung disease deaths every year.
13. Do you live with, work with, or spend time with people who smoke? Yes = minus 1 for men, minus 2 for women. No = 0. FACT: Although close association with smokers is thought to reduce a person’s life expectancy by one year, recent research suggests this association may reduce life expectancy by two years.
14. Does your body weight “yo-yo” as you go on and off diet fads? Yes = minus 5. No = 0. FACT: Unorthodox dietary regimens stress the heart and immune system, increasing the risk of disease.
15. Do you own a pet? Yes = plus 2. No = 0. FACT: Peer-reviewed scientific journals substantially support longevity benefits of pet companionship. (Note: Avoid exotic pets, such as parrots, monkeys, reptiles, or rodents. These animals have been known to carry diseases that can be transmitted to humans.)
16. When writing, which hand do you use? Left-handed = minus 1. Right-handed = 0. Life is stressful for lefties living in a made-for right-hand world. FACT: Lefties live in a world where most objects are designed for right-handed people. Objects such as scissors, pencil sharpeners, door openers, and can openers are rarely designed for left-handed people.
17. How tall are you? For every inch of your height that exceeds 5’8″ = subtract six months. FACT: Size does matter, but not in any way you may have thought. Shorter people live longer.
18. Do you belong to any religious group, and do you practice your faith? Yes = plus 2. No = 0. FACT: Attending to both physical and spiritual needs lowers morbidity and mortality.
19. Do you have two or more daughters? Yes = plus 3. No = 0. Daughters are elder caregivers. FACT: Daughters provide the bulk of eldercare. Even daughters-in-law provide more care than do sons.
20. Do you use stress management techniques such as meditation, quiet time or visiting a spa? Yes = plus 4. No = minus 3. FACT: Because there is no escape from stress in our modern society, stress management is the best response.
21. Do you walk to work? Yes = plus 2. Ride to work? Yes = plus 1. Drive to work? Yes = minus 3. FACT: Walking offers fitness benefits, as well as a sense of self-reliance and personal freedom (no gridlock!).
22. Have you had cosmetic surgery? Yes = plus 5. (But subtract 1 for each additional surgery during the same decade.) FACT: Cosmetic surgery reduces age phobia and age discrimination and evokes a positive response from a youth-obsessed world. Too many cosmetic surgeries (that is, more than one every 10 years), however, may actually accelerate the aging process.
23. Do you fear the uncertainties of growing old? Yes = minus 1. No fear = plus 0. FACT: Fear of aging increases your risk of emotional illnesses such as self hatred, denial and depression.
24. Do you routinely use cannabis? Yes = minus 4. No = 0. FACT: Scientific studies claim that frequent cannabis use increases the risk of physical and mental disorders-such as lung and heart disease and psychosis-by as much as 150 percent.
25. Are you sexually promiscuous? Yes = minus 6. No = 0. FACT: Engaging in unprotected sex with multiple partners greatly increases the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.
26. Are you engaged in a long-term relationship of trust and mutual respect? Yes = plus 5. No = 0. FACT: A relationship of this nature fulfills emotional, social, and physical needs and lowers morbidity and mortality risks.
27. Are all your friends the same age as you? Yes = minus 2. Do you have friends of different ages? Yes = plus 1. FACT: Having friends from a younger generation counters an age-related decrease in your social network. Social isolation sets the stage for a variety of age-accelerating conditions. Those who live alone, for example, have a shorter life expectancy due to poor nutrition; the absence of companionship and someone who can intervene during periods of depression or physical illness; a decreasing need to get dressed and groomed; and safety issues (for example, the hearing impaired often misinterpret abnormal sounds, such as bathroom water pipes gurgling, as human voices whispering) and no one is present to tell them otherwise.
28. Do you keep a written list of specific life goals with time frames for completion? Yes = plus 1. No = 0. FACT: Studies of performance behavior link specific goals and achievements to quality of life.
29. Do you have a family (blood relatives) history of cardiovascular disease or cancer prior to age 50? Subtract 2 per occurrence. FACT: Family history demonstrates just how many cultural risks are increased by genetic predisposition. Culture (lifestyle) and genetics (inherited conditions) moderate the aging process. For example, some ethnic groups share a history of longevity, as do the children of long-lived parents.
30. Do you have a family history of obesity, diabetes, or chronic depression? Subtract 2 per occurrence.
FACT: Family history demonstrates just how many cultural risks are enhanced by genetic predisposition.
31. Do you take a once-daily dose (physician-approved) of an anti-inflammatory agent? Yes = plus 4. No = 0. FACT: Scientific studies of anti-inflamatory drugs such as aspirin and statins show a reduced risk of cardio-vascular diseases such as heart attack and stroke.
32. Do you have an annual physical exam that includes a review of diet, over-the-counter medications, prescriptions, and dietary supplements? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 3. FACT: Without oversight, combining prescription and over-the-counter medications with dietary supplements can be life threatening.
33. Does your dental care routine include daily brushing and flossing, plus a six-month checkup and cleaning? Yes = 0. No = minus 1.
FACT: A lack of preventive dental care and poor oral health habits raises the risk of infection elsewhere in the body, such as the heart.
34. Do you compute your daily caloric needs, then reduce caloric intake by 20 percent? Yes = plus 2. No = 0. FACT: Research demonstrates a strong relationship between reduced caloric intake and longevity. If you answered “No” to this question, read the chapter, Thoughts for Food, for more information about computing your daily caloric needs and the benefits of reducing your caloric intake by 20 percent.
35. Do you have one daily serving of red wine (7 oz), purple grape juice (7 oz), or RDA grape-seed extract? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 1. FACT: The agent in purple grapes enhances cardiovascular health by flushing cholesterol from the arteries.
36. Do you have one daily serving of oatmeal or oatbran (one -half cup, or one 70- gram granola bar)? Yes= plus 1. No= minus1. FACT: The fiber in oatmeal enhances cardiovascular health by flushing cholestoral from the arteries.
37. Are you involved in supervised strength training 3 times per week? Yes = 0. No = minus 1. FACT: Muscular strength, flexibility, and coordination are essential to daily living and reduce the likelihood of tripping and falling.
38. Do you have a daily exercise routine that consists of at least 20 minutes of supervised cardiovascular training at your target heart rate, as well as warm-up and cool-down periods? Yes = plus 2, No = 0. FACT: Cardiovascular and metabolic benefits occur when exercise is performed at your target heart rate. If you answered “No” to this question, read chapter five, Full Body Contact, for more information about calculating your target heart rate and the benefits of a regular exercise routine.
39. Is your home and indoor work space adequately ventilated by frequently opening windows, or equipped with air filtration that can filter microscopic particles? Yes = plus 1. No = minus 1. FACT: Environmental studies have documented increasing evidence of cardiopulmonary diseases generated from indoor air and materials. Common items you have and use in and around your home – such as carpets and furniture, insecticides, cleansers, and paint and varnish – can release toxins into the air. In addition, all homes absorb toxins from the outside environment through normal cracks in foundations and walls.
40. Do you eat or drink more than two daily servings of caffeinated products, such as coffee, tea, cola, or chocolate? Yes = minus 2. No = 0. FACT: Caffeine helps headache pain, but its toxic affect elsewhere elevates the risk of cancer and heart disease.
41. Is your BMI (body mass index) 25 or greater? Yes = minus 4. No = 0. FACT: A Body Mass Index of 25 or above increases the risk of diabetes, heart attack, stroke, and hypertension. Clinical obesity has multiple negative and long-term effects on organs throughout the body. If you do not know how to calculate your Body Mass Index, read chapter five, Full Body Contact, for more information.
42. Is the average time you take to consume your meals more than 30 minutes? = 0. Less than 30 minutes? = minus 1.
FACT: Your brain requires 30 minutes to measure fullness, by which time you’re often on a second or third helping.
43. Do you eat, drink, or use a cell phone while driving your vehicle? Yes = minus 1. No = 0. FACT: These distracting behaviors elevate your risk of frightening close calls and outright accidents.
44. Do you have a consistent work schedule (i.e., work 9 to 5)? = 0. Or do you have an inconsistent work schedule (shift work that changes schedule)? = minus 2.
FACT: One in four workers is in a shift-work occupation that results in chronic sleep deprivation.
45. Within a 24-hour day, do you sleep nine or more hours? Yes = minus 1. Do you sleep 6-8 hours? Yes = plus 2. Do you sleep 5 hours or fewer? Yes = 1. FACT: On average, most people need between 6 and 8 hours of sleep. Sleep deprivation is associated with poor concentration, more frequent accidents, and substandard effort.
46. Can you list symptoms associated with colon cancer? Yes = plus 1. No = minus 2. FACT: It is not necessary for this cancer to be so dangerous to your health. Get a checkup, now.
47. Can you list symptoms of adult-onset diabetes? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 3. FACT: Genetics, lifestyle, dietary habits, or a combination of the three are all risk factors.
48. Women only: Can you list breast cancer symptoms? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 3. FACT: Preventive measures such as breast self-examination and mammography remain under-utilized.
49. Can you list high blood pressure symptoms? Yes = minus 2. No = 0 FACT: There are no symptoms associated with high blood pressure; therefore, you should have your blood pressure checked regularly.
50. Women only: Have you had a bone density test as a preventive step against osteoporosis? Yes = plus 1, No = 0. FACT: Osteoporosis is more prevalent in women and increases the risk of back and hip fractures. Start monitoring early. As a preventive health measure, women should monitor their calcium needs as early as age 23 and their bone density as early as age 30.
51. Men only: Can you list prostate cancer symptoms? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 2. FACT: After age 50, your doctor should monitor prostate health by reliable digital or PSA testing.
52. Men only: Can you list testicular cancer symptoms? Yes = 0. No = minus 1. FACT: Avoid clothing fabric or styles that elevate testicle temperature. Monitor on a regular basis by inspecting the soft tissue of the testicles for lumps and painful areas; if found, see your doctor for a professional examination.
53. Women only: Can you list ovarian cancer symptoms? Yes = plus 2. No = minus 2. FACT: Early risks exist but increase after menopause, and in association with advancing age.
54. Can you list heart attack symptoms? Yes = plus 1. No = minus 2. FACT: Learn the symptoms and immediate interventions. Learn Cardiopulmonary Resusciation (CPR) for protecting loved ones.
55. How would you rate your sex life? Satisfactory = plus 1. Not sure = minus 0. Not satisfactory = minus 1. FACT: Overstimulation by advertising, entertainment, and fashion results in a genuine need for a positive sexual outlet.
Now add it all up. Your score is an estimate of how long you can expect to live. A score of less than 79 years should alert you to take positive action. In fact, 75% of longevity predictors are based on lifestyle, not genes. Remember, long life depends on seven factors: genetic inheritance (good genes give you a good head start), physical fitness, mental fitness (exercising your mind), emotional fitness (meaningful lives last longer), spiritual fitness (interpreting the purpose of life), food fitness (healthy nutrition and diet) and environmental fitness (limiting our exposure to toxic chemicals). Remember, the key to a long and healthy life is more than smart genes and dumb luck.
Low score? It’s never too late to make positive lifestyle changes. A complete lifestyle plan, in an interactive question & answer format is available in Dr. David Demko’s book, “Live Well Now, Dr. David Demko’s Anti-Aging Plan to Youth’n Your Life”.
Copyright Next Decade, Inc. 2005