By Ben Cost
Like a spoiler in the movie of your life, the so-called Longevity Test aims to predict when the credits roll.
An Illinois physician has devised a macabre quiz to determine how long test takers will live, based on queries about their diet, lifestyle and other mortality markers.
“I do want people to use this Score so that they can take actions which will boost their health and their longevity,” Dr. Paul Savage explained when asked by The Post.
He helped found MD Lifespan, a Chicago-based clinic devoted to helping people extend their life span.
In lieu of prescribing more drugs, he decided to embrace integrative medicine — an evidence-based approach that employs an array of scientific disciplines, from nutrition to stem cell therapy, to help people maintain “optimum health.”
Savage has said his life-lengthening mission was inspired by his time as an ER physician, during which he was a 267-pound cigarette smoker with high cholesterol, high blood pressure and pre-diabetes.
Knowing approximately when one’s going to die might seem morbid, but Savage sees it a different way. “I have not come across many people who do not want an answer as to how long they may live, because what I often do hear is the question on ‘How I can live longer, healthier and maintain my independence?’” he told The Post.
The doctor claims his score currently sits at an enviable 86. “I am thrilled, as most men in my family die by 70, and only one uncle has lived to 82,” Savage gushed.
Meanwhile, the average life expectancy for US males is 73 while US women live to be 79 on average.
After running the quiz past a small number of Post employees in their 20s and 30s, we deduced that the average Postie will live to be 67.5 — despite the fact that’s 10 years younger than the average US life expectancy of 77.
How does the Longevity Test work?
To test if people are on the right path in life, he devised the aforementioned Longevity Score, based on various aging factors, including blood pressure, weight and diet.
To consult his online death predictor, the morbidly curious simply click into the 38-question survey and enter their biological gender, age, height and weight.
The first part entails a litany of multiple-choice questions related to diet, including calorie consumption and vegetable intake.
Adults who stick to a healthy diet are less likely to experience obesity, heart disease, diabetes and even some types of cancer — and the longevity goes so far as to ask respondents if they “like to use olive oil,” which, among many benefits, can drastically decrease the risk of dying from dementia, thereby tacking on inches to the mortal coil.
In fact, a study from earlier this month found that the olive oil-rich Mediterranean diet, coupled with exercise, can counter aging-related body changes such as fat gain and loss of muscle mass.
Like your general practitioner, the exam also inquires about the user’s smoking, drug and alcohol habits as well as frequency of exercise. Blood pressure, cholesterol and family history of cancer and heart disease are also covered — all of which play a crucial part in a person’s longevity.
The exam also exemplifies the “healthy body healthy mind mantra” with questions related to stress levels, reading, sleep habits and even social interaction.
Alarming studies show that loneliness — which ran rampant during the COVID-19 global lockdown — can lead to brain shrinkage and other frightening conditions.
Perhaps most peculiar was the question about the user’s use of supplements containing NAD, aka “nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide,” which occurs naturally in the body and plays a role in how energy gets used in the body.
Viewed as somewhat of a panacea, the supplement is used for myriad conditions, from high blood pressure to depression, but there is no scientific consensus to support its efficacy against these ailments.
How credible is the quiz?
Of course, the die-vination test isn’t without its caveats.
Dr. Savage admits that it is difficult to determine the accuracy of the quiz — which doesn’t factor in unforeseen events such as fatal accidents — but can help people mitigate risk and therefore increase their chances of succeeding at life-span.
“The accuracy of My Longevity Score is difficult to determine, but that is not the purpose of the score,” the physician declared. “The purpose of the score is so that anyone can assess their risk factors impacting their longevity, and then discover methods of mitigating those risks.”
He claims that these risk factors can in turn be mitigated by “early detection, targeted prevention and intervention.”
“As my grandfather says, ‘If you don’t look, then you will not see it, and if you don’t measure, then you cannot fix it,’” Savage declared.