RealAge: Is it the RealDeal?
The basic concept of RealAge is that your true biological age is not the same as your chronological age. In other words, you may be 35 years old, but your body may work like a 25 year old or a 65 year old depending on a variety of factors. The RealAge website dives into those factors and examines how lifestyle choices impact your "RealAge."
The RealAge TestAt the heart of RealAge is a test that asks about family history and lifestyle to determine your RealAge. The test adjusts your current age based on how you answer the questions (e.g., smoking increases your age by 8 years, but taking an aspirin every day will make you 2.2-2.9 years younger). Although it’s a “test,” it’s actually quite fun to complete, and the results point out the benefits and dangers of various health behaviors.
Is RealAge Real?
Longevity science is challenging. Researchers cannot do studies to prove that John Doe would have lived 8 years longer if he quit smoking. Either he quit, or he didn't. We don't have two John Does to compare. Researchers must rely on statistics to determine the impact of lifestyle behaviors, which gets very complicated.
Can We Know Our "RealAge?"
In short, we can't really know the impact of all of the lifestyle factors in the level of detail presented in RealAge. Each lifestyle factor interacts with other factors in an incredibly complex way. RealAge does try to address this, adjusting some of the factors for age (e.g., aspirin reduces age by 2.2 years at 55 and 2.9 years at 70). The bottom line is that we cannot know our “RealAge” with the precision suggested by the test. BUT, the RealAge test will give the best guess available to you.
Does It Matter?
The RealAge system is very impressive. If you register to receive emails, they’re full of great suggestions that you can use to become healthier and live longer. By linking behaviors to increasing or decreasing your age, the approach lets you compare different lifestyle factors and prioritize your effort. If you adopt just 3 or 4 of the suggestions, you will be healthier and most likely better off.
What Is the Test Based On?
Michael Roizen (the author) claims that he has "pored over more than 33,000 medical studies,” and the calculations are based on more than 1,200 of those studies along with a proprietary database. This is probably the largest such database and will give the best guess as to the impact of all these lifestyle factors on your life expectancy.
Does it work?
Over ten million people have taken the RealAge test. The books are bestsellers. There are countless testimonials and statistics on the success of the program. Having said all of that, the best way for you to determine if the RealAge test works or doesn’t is to take the test yourself.