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How long will I live? Interesting predictive modeling app.

Based on your lifestyle, education, date of birth, diet, gender, even zip code.

I found a few calculators. It will tell you your chance to die between e.g. 81 and 83 years old, how much time you can "purchase" if you quit smoking. Looks like these predictive models are based on scores and expectancy tables.

  1. http://www.livingto100.com (asks for your email address, seems comprehensive and based on recent data, too granular to be reliable, in my opinion)
  2. http://gosset.wharton.upenn.edu/mortality/perl/CalcForm.html (I'd trust this one most, but it looks old, not sure if their actuarial tables are updated)
  3. http://www.bankrate.com/calculators/retirement/life-age-expectancy-... (could not run it due to Java security problem)
  4. http://socialsecurity.gov/OACT/population/longevity.html (very basic)

Which one do you recommend? Which one is based on sound predictive modeling and segmentation techniques? What are the potential flaws in these web apps? In my opinion, the fact that they ask questions using terms that are not very well defined, such as "moderate drinker". What is a moderate drinker, or a heavy smoker, or someone "exercising frequently"? Everybody has its own definition.

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Have scientists done any research about why some smokers live to 90 years old while most make it only to 65-75 years old? Or is it the case that if you smoke, you die 20 years earlier, meaning the 90 year old smoker could had lived to 110, if he hadn't been smoking. 

Long time ago when I was working in epidemiology  there was this phenomenon call "survivor syndrome". If you stress a (large enough) population hard enough, some members will express adaptations that change the shape of the response curve.Most will not survive as well as the unstressed population would have, but a few will exceed what they would otherwise have been capable of. Models for this came out of factor analysis, rather than actual experimentation (which would have been unethical of course), so add salt to taste. There are other examples in stressed human populations too.

Also, are we doing anything to increase the life expectancy of smokers? Smokers cost of lot in healthcare expenditures, but they cost little in retirement benefits (because they die before or early in retirement). Actually, when I was involved in the cigarette manufacturer lawsuit (helping in statistical litigation), it was argued by the defense that smokers cost less to society than non-smokers, because they don't use social security benefits available after 65. Maybe there is some incentive in not helping smokers live longer...

Also, is alcohol really less dangerous than cigarettes - say two bottles of wine a day vs. one pack of cigarettes a day? Looks worse to me. Or is the alcohol lobby more powerful in hiding the real dangers to the public? Or is it more complicated, e.g. all alcoholic are also heavy smokers? Or total cost to society ddue to alcohol far below cost due to cigarettes?

Also, in US, smoking is associated with poverty and maybe some people believe that eradicating cigarettes will fix poverty issues? In some ways it will reduce poverty, since if you earn $15K per year and spend $4,000 in cigarettes, after rent and food, there's nothing left but debts. I guess the effect of alcohol on poverty rate, is less severe.

I tried #2.  I would recommend the long form.  The short form (for those in a hurry) took 5 years off my expected life.  But that fits with my life choices.  I like the scenic route instead of the freeway. ;-)

I also used #2 ... not planning much beyond my 91st year and little between 85 and 91 ... :)

Realage.com is another site requesting lifestyle and hereditary info. Give them a try.

It's genetics for the most part. Some people are resistant to such factors as cancer and heart disease while others are not.

Vincent Granville said:

Have scientists done any research about why some smokers live to 90 years old while most make it only to 65-75 years old? Or is it the case that if you smoke, you die 20 years earlier, meaning the 90 year old smoker could had lived to 110, if he hadn't been smoking. 

The first two gave me pretty similar but much higher results at 96 and 98 years based on the inputs, but the basic calculators gave 82 and 83. I've seen the 'real age' website before, it's pretty good too.

Can you post any links to research supporting your statement?

Mohammed Zakaria said:

It's genetics for the most part. Some people are resistant to such factors as cancer and heart disease while others are not.

Vincent Granville said:

Have scientists done any research about why some smokers live to 90 years old while most make it only to 65-75 years old? Or is it the case that if you smoke, you die 20 years earlier, meaning the 90 year old smoker could had lived to 110, if he hadn't been smoking. 

Interesting points. First, I think it is morally wrong to justify smoking because they are "costing" less retirement benefit. You could basically then tell drug addicts to keep doing that and don't treat or kill chronic disease patients (cancer, dementia etc) to save tons of money. It would indeed save a lot of money from societal perspective. The point of having health care/retirement benefit is to increase life/quality of life at lowest possible cost, rather than shrink life/QoL while reducing cost.

Secondly, purely from technical standpoint, I doubt the cost saving from retirement would outweigh the cost of health care, particularly in the US (I admit I have no data/study to support the argument).  Majority of US employers do not provide pensions, but rather 401K. So it is the employees' own money for non-health related expenses. For health, SS/FICA covers most but is undercovered and decreasing over time. The trend is for the elderly to buy their own insurance on top of Medicare. Hard to say a healthy senior citizen who live to 80 would cost the society more than a lung cancer patient, which usually costs $90,000 a year, roughly. 

Vincent Granville said:

Also, are we doing anything to increase the life expectancy of smokers? Smokers cost of lot in healthcare expenditures, but they cost little in retirement benefits (because they die before or early in retirement). Actually, when I was involved in the cigarette manufacturer lawsuit (helping in statistical litigation), it was argued by the defense that smokers cost less to society than non-smokers, because they don't use social security benefits available after 65. Maybe there is some incentive in not helping smokers live longer...

Also, is alcohol really less dangerous than cigarettes - say two bottles of wine a day vs. one pack of cigarettes a day? Looks worse to me. Or is the alcohol lobby more powerful in hiding the real dangers to the public? Or is it more complicated, e.g. all alcoholic are also heavy smokers? Or total cost to society ddue to alcohol far below cost due to cigarettes?

Also, in US, smoking is associated with poverty and maybe some people believe that eradicating cigarettes will fix poverty issues? In some ways it will reduce poverty, since if you earn $15K per year and spend $4,000 in cigarettes, after rent and food, there's nothing left but debts. I guess the effect of alcohol on poverty rate, is less severe.

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