Real age, also known as health age, is a measure of one's physical age based on a number of lifestyle factors. It can serve as a predictor for current life expectancy, as well as identify where changes need to be made. For instance, a 27-year-old who smokes and drinks to excess might have a real age of 35, just because of his lifestyle behaviors.
"Real age" often refers to a test developed by Drs. Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz, known as the RealAge® test. This test is a common age calculator, but there are other options available as well. People may take the age tests independently, or the tests may be given by healthcare professionals. Questions on each test may vary, but they tend to generally include information about behaviors that have the most impact on health and life expectancy. It is important to be honest when completing a test to determine real age.
The questionnaire may begin with simple questions regarding current age, height, and weight, and progress to questions about behavior such as smoking or drinking. Family history questions are generally included, as well as information about any current illnesses or problems one currently is facing, as well as exercise frequency. Eating habits are considered, such as how many servings of fruit, vegetables, dairy, and red meat are eaten in a week. Hygiene habits may be considered, as well as safety behaviors such as always buckling up while in a vehicle or using a cell phone while driving.
In addition to questions about the physical body, most real age tests will consider mental health as well. Questions about relationship satisfaction will likely be included, as well as whether one has a support system of friends or belongs to a social group, attends church regularly, or even owns a pet. Family income levels will also be assessed, as well as what one considers to be the stressors in his or her life, such as finances or children. These are just some of the questions typically found on a real age test.
Once one completes the test, an indicator of a real age is shown. If one is currently considered very healthy, the age may be a few years younger than one's actual age. In general, though, real age is higher than actual age, which indicates that change needs to be made. The test may then make suggestions to live a longer, healthier life, such as exercising more, eating more fruits and vegetables, or always wearing a seatbelt when in a car.