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Front Page - Friday, February 19, 2016

Are We There, Yet?

Jay Edwards

If I knew I was going to live this long, I’d have taken better care of myself. – Mickey Mantle

I thought it might be time again to see what age I’ll live to by playing the Longevity Game on the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance website. Last time I checked with them I was age 48, which was ten years ago.

My result back in 2006 was that I would live to be 83, which didn’t sound too bad ten years ago… today, not as good.

I begin by putting in my age of 58 and that I am male. The face of the same little guy I got last time comes up and I’m pleased to see he hasn’t lost any more hair, like he did from 38 to 48. It says I will live to be 77, the average for all us guys, with no factors coming into play. 

Next, I’m asked for my height and weight. I’m still 6-4, but I’m nine pounds lighter at 231, which makes me feel better until I see that I’m going backwards and will now only live to 76. It’s because my BMI (body mass index) is 28.1, putting me in the overweight category. Ten years ago my BMI was 29.1 (obese) and at the beginning of that test I was only going to be around to 74. So it’s better now, except I only have 16 years left, which makes me think that if I’m ever going to amount to anything I better get a move on.

Next I say that I did have a family member who had a cardiovascular problem before the age of 55 (dad died of a heart attack at 51. I guess they would consider that a problem). This loses me another year, to 75.

Moving along I tell them that I get my blood pressure checked regularly and get normal readings, which buys me three years to 78, which also gains me more time on those “amounting to something” plans. Thank God.

Next comes stress; I check that I have my share of ups and downs, and stay at 78.

Regarding exercise, I have to say that I am somewhat active, and my 78 doesn’t change. 

On diet, I check average, which doesn’t help or hurt. I love steak and pizza but KM usually cooks pretty healthy stuff, plus I usually only have a salad for lunch.

For the safety question I’m able to say I always buckle up, getting me to 79. I also report no accidents in last three years and that takes me to 80.

I don’t drink much (no, really), no more than two a day and not every day (I swear). But that only gets me one extra year and I begin to question that so-called “good” habit.

I don’t consider myself a smoker, at least in any of their categories, and now I’ll live to be 82.

I check that I never use drugs for recreation and surge to 83. If I had checked the other box, I’d be at 74. So to you kids out there of all ages, “Just Say No.”

This ends the test and I’m told I’m setting a gold standard with my healthy habits. Let’s hope so. But I seem to be stuck on that 83 number from a decade ago.

Going back through for KM, at her beginning she is in the normal BMI range at 22.3, which, starts her out living to 82. (UPDATE, my mortality drops to 58, after reporting what KM’s BMI is) 

After KM’s test is complete it says she will live to be, are you ready for this – 97!

Even if she doesn’t kill me over that BMI thing, that’s still 14 years without me.

Well, she can probably use the break. 

Jay Edwards is editor-in-chief of the Hamilton County Herald and an award-winning columnist. Contact him at jedwards@dailydata.com.