How to live longer remains a growing area of science, with researchers studying the lifestyles of the world’s longest-survining populations.
So far we know eating the Mediterranean diet, consuming more magnesium, reducing stress and being active can help add years to your life.
Additionally, smoking and poor diet could significantly decrease life expectancy.
However, there is a tendency to focus on the total number of years left, rather than the number of ‘good quality’ years remaining a person has.
Researchers at the Goldenson Center for Actuarial Research at the University of Connecticut have created a free online calculator to estimate how many ‘healthy years’ you have left.
It is the first time a measurement tool has been created to work out a person’s ‘healthy life expectancy’.
The researchers define an ‘unhealthy’ state as a severe enough state of disablement that there is no recovery, so you remain unhealthy until death.
Since this will often be influenced by lifestyle factors – such as smoking and alcohol intake – the researchers hope it will encourage people to make positive choices within their control.
Having a higher level of income and education are also factors that could help extend your number of healthy years.
However, there are two factors that are out of people’s control – age and gender.
Healthy life expectancy decreases with age, while women have a longer healthy life expectancy compared to men.
The researchers note that healthy life expectancy is simply an ‘educated prediction’.
Thanks to advancements in knowledge, the average life expectancy in the UK is now 81.6 years.
For men it is 79.1 years, while for women it is 82.8 years.
Earlier this year there were concerns that rising rates of life expectancy were dramatically slowing after more than a century of continuous progress.
An expert at University College London, Sir Michael Marmot, said he was “deeply concerned” by the findings.