My Health

Life Expectancy Calculations
Dec 22, 2006, 10:20

We all know that getting older stinks, but how much older am I going to get?

I took a look through the internet to find some sort of life expectancy calculator to get some kind of estimate on how much longer Iím going to be around (barring of course getting hit by a bus or ripped apart by my chimp Bo Bo). The way I see it, if I only have 2 or three years left I need to stop being so lazy and get something accomplished. If I have 20 or 30 years there is a whole lot more TV that I can watch before being concerned.

A quick Google search finds a number of life expectancy calculators. These magic 8 balls take in some information, make some assumptions from the questions they ask and spit out how much longer you got. The best part is there is no insurance co-payment and blood test.

The calculators ranged from simplistic, where only about 6 questions were asked, to really complex, where I was forced to fill our numerous pages of data.

What I found out was that the majority of these calculators say I will live between 71 and 85. That is a big differential. The mean of which, big complicated math term that says the average, is 78 years.

Now, when you go shopping for a TV or a new stove you shop around, so began hunting for the calculator that would give me the most years, and that would be the one I would trust. What I found was the calculator at gave me a whopping 85 years for a 2-page form, which is not a bad rate of return.

SiteScore 78

What these calculators are doing is similar to what insurance companies do. They weigh factors such as sex, age, whether you smoke or not, and how your family history is in relation to big killers such as heart disease. Life Insurers such as MetLife, John Hancock and New York Life use this information in combination with mortality tables and your general lifestyle (skydiving and motorcycle riding are no-nos) to come up with your premiums (the cost to you) in relation to the policy face value (how much the insurance is worth), so your beneficiary can live high on the hog (tax free) on your demise.

Based on the fact that Iím 37, a male, exercise on occasion (ok, I lied), eat ok (another lie) and donít jump out of planes I can look forward to another 48 years of bonus time, which equates to 17,520 days or 2,496 weekends. Not too bad.

But say for a moment I wanted to rack up some more bonus time. What exactly would I have to do? Is it worth killing my self to keep from dying sooner?

I went back to my crappiest score card to see if I could tweak the numbers to get a higher score than 75.

In changing my answers I gained two years by not being overweight by 10-30 pounds. In my mind this is bogus question since there is a big difference between 10 and 30 pounds. I would definitely say I am a whole lot closer to the 10 than the 30 so Iíll move my general score to 78, two more years of donuts.

The next thing I looked at was where I live. Iím in the US, specifically in New York. While this particular test did not have any bias for living in the big apple over the Midwest it did deduct points for living in Pakastan (61 years total), or Argentina (72 years total). Unfortunately the close places such as the UK and Canada kept me rooted at the same score.

With the same data if I was a woman I would live to 84. That doesnít seem fair at all; especially considering itís not something I can change (easily). It also appears that if I were to do manual labor instead if sitting behind a desk all day I would gain six year. Since that isnít going to change I looked at the options I could change which were diet and exercise.

If I go from exercising zero days a week to two days a week I gain three additional years, bucking me up to 80. If exercising consists of doing something strenuous for an hour a day/2 times per week, that equates to 5,304 hours of exercise or 221 24-hour days or exercising to get 3 years back. This hardly seems equitable.

If I exercise 5 days a week for at least 1/2 an hour I get back an additional 2 years. Whoo-hoo. I think it would be easier to become a woman. At least there I gain 7 more years and get taken out to a nice meal occasionally.

Now that exercise is out of the way, if I go from eating crap to eating healthy, this pushes my score way up to 84. Thatís 6 years for giving up donuts and greasy burgers. Not a bad compromise. So if I improve my eating habits to eat less red meat, drink less soda and snack less I can gain 3 years of eating less red meat, drinking less soda and snacking less.

Joy -- oh joy. Bring on the salad.