What’s Your Real Age?
Last spring I had the good fortune to attend The Art and Science of Health Promotion Conference. There, I met several of my health heroes including Dr. Michael Roizen, Dr. Oz’ lesser-known research partner. I have been using Dr. Roizen’s health assessment, RealAge (www.realage.com), for years. I admire the complexity of what goes into it and the simplicity of what comes out of it. Using an algorithm based on actuarial tables, RealAge collects health and behavior data and calculates a health or “real” age. It then compares the computed RealAge to your chronological age.
The difference between your “real” age and your chronological age lands you somewhere on a scale of:
RealAge makes suggestions for small improvements that lead to big benefits. It allows you to gauge the impact of your selected improvements and refine them based on your desired RealAge. The bottom line—as you age, lifestyle becomes an increasingly important part of the algorithm.
As a long-time fan of Dr. Roizen’s assessment and his “YOU” books co-authored by Dr. Oz, I was really looking forward to his keynote address. As Chief Wellness Officer at the Cleveland Clinic, a premier cardiovascular treatment center in Ohio, his would be the quintessential wellness program. True to form, Dr. Roizen’s wellness program is both simple and complex. Its goals are simple. Achieving or maintaining those goals is an endeavor that becomes increasingly complex with age.
The goal of Dr. Roizen’s Wellness Program is to achieve or maintain “five normals.” Normal results in each of the five areas detailed below:
1. Body Mass Index (BMI)
A measure of weight in relation to height.
A normal BMI is between 18.5 and 24.9.
2. LDL Cholesterol
The “bad” cholesterol, a lower level of this type of cholesterol is desirable.
A normal level of LDL is <130.
3. Blood Pressure
A measure of the pressure exerted on the arteries as blood moves through them.
A normal level is < 120/80.
A measure of the average blood glucose over the previous six to 12 weeks. A normal range is between 4% and 6% for people without diabetes.
A by-product of nicotine metabolism. A normal result is negative for the presence of cotinine.
If there are any values that you do not know or haven’t had checked for more than one year, you may want to make an appointment for a check-up and blood work with your primary care physician (PCP). In the interim, here are Dr. Roizen’s tips for achieving and maintaining “five normals:”
1. Meditate twice daily
2. Get 10,000 steps per day
3. Quit smoking
4. Manage stress
5. Avoid, limit or eliminate the five food felons: trans fats, saturated fats, sugar, syrup, and any grains that are not 100% whole grain
There is no time like the present to begin improving your health. Senior Connection Center offers an array of evidence based Health & Wellness classes for older adults and their caregivers. To learn more visit the Health & Wellness section of their website.
My wish to you and your loved ones is to make this the start of a very Happy and Healthy New Year!
About the author: PATRICIA M. FULLER, PhD – Dr. Pat – is the Director of Wellness Engineering for Baldwin Krystyn Sherman Partners. She has a PhD in Holistic Nutrition and has dedicated the last 18 years to designing and delivering wellness programs. Her events earn consistently excellent ratings for her holistic approach and her real world application. In 2010, she was board certified by the Holistic Nutrition Credentialing Board. Her areas of research include stress management and eating habits. She is a Certified Wellcoach and a member of the Institute of Coaching. She is an annual attendee to The Harvard Medical School Conference, Coaching In Leadership & Healthcare.