Want to know how long you’ll live? A new online longevity calculator may have the answer.
The calculator, created by Ontario scientists, asks questions about a person’s smoking, drinking, eating, physical activity and other factors to predict his or her lifespan.
Although there are many similar tools online, this calculator is based on real data on factors contributing to deaths in Ontario.
The calculator was created as part of a new report published Monday that found 60 per cent of deaths in Ontario are linked to five controllable lifestyle factors: smoking, alcohol, diet, physical activity and stress.
“I was taken aback, even though I work in this field,” said Doug Manuel, lead author of the report and senior scientist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute.
If people changed even one bad habit, they could gain several years of life, according to the report published online Monday by the ICES and Public Health Ontario.
For the report, researchers examined responses from Ontario health surveys, which question people about habits, such as diet. Using a database at ICES, they were able to see what happened to survey respondents over time and the age at which they died, helping them determine the relationship between health risk factors and longevity.
Dr. Manuel and his colleagues decided to create the life expectancy calculator as a tool to help Ontarians see how their lifestyle may affect their health. It’s available online at rrasp-phirn.ca/risktools.
The calculator doesn’t guarantee accuracy and can’t account for people with pre-existing medical conditions. But, in general, it reveals how behaviour, such as the amount of exercise you get, can affect life expectancy. The results also show how your risk factors compare to others and tells you which ones need the most improvement.