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The Seven Bio-Ages

Most of us are fortunate enough to have come into this world with a generous helping of what, in a bygone era, we might have called "life force". It's the stuff that gives us energy, passion and resilience. Inevitably, time takes a little of this "stuff" every year. Much of it is gone long before we suffer the illness and disease normallly associated with growing older.

But what isn't inevitable is the rate at which we lose this life force. If we can understand the things that take it from us, we can learn to conserve it, rather than squander it. Sometimes we can even earn it back.

Here at the Bio-Age Challenge, we've used modern biological science to break this life-force down into a few broad components - measures of health and wellness that we can all focus on, measure and then exercise some control over. These are the Seven Bio-Ages.

1. Heart Age

Your Heart Age is an estimate of the bio-age of your cardiovascular system - your heart, veins, arteries and blood. Together, they deliver oxygen and nutrients to your body and remove its waste. The health of your cardiovascular system impacts everything from your brain to your sex life.

How It's Calculated

The Bio-Age Challenge Heart Age calculation uses a Risk Score developed from data generated by the Framingham Heart Study, a long term study of more than 5,000 men and women1.

Where key data are missing (e.g. Cholesterol), available data from blood-relatives influences Heart Age calculation, as does your Body Mass Index (BMI). Your food quantity and quality, and your physical activity reporting may also influence your Heart Age calculation as our algorithms "learn" from the growing number of people like you in the Bio-Age Challenge database.

The calculations will be less accurate if you're being treated by your doctor for any cardiovascular disease.

2. Fitness Age

Your Fitness Age estimates your fitness, muscle and bone strength. Our capacity to move our bodies easily and without risk of injury is a key part of what makes us young.

How It's Calculated

Your Challenge Profile answers, together with any daily tracking data you provide, are used to make an estimate of your Fitness Age. Your levels of activity, your weight and food qualtiy are also assessed for their likely contribution to your muscle and bone strength.

3. Brain Age

Your Brain Age estimates your mental function. It may surprise you to learn that your Brain Age is the metric that you have most control over.

How It's Calculated

Certain activities and lifestyle factors are associated with an older brain. Your Challenge Profile answers give clues to these. They also give clues to longer-term bevaviours or conditions that are known to compromise brain function. How you interact with this application is also factored into the calculation.

4. Appearance

Your Appearance Age is an estimate of the age you look. It's a metric that's not just skin deep - your posture, the way you move, the energy and enthusiasm you convey, are just as important as the wrinkles and the colour of your hair.

How It's Calculated

When your family and friends connect with this application, we ask them how old you look. Your Profile answers also tell us about longer-term circumstances that will have impacted upon your appearance.

5. Vital Age

Your Vital Age is a vitality assessment - including your internal chemical & emotional balance, resistance to stress and disease. A young body is a finely-balanced machine. Letting it get out of balance makes it older.

How It's Calculated

An out-of-balance body has symptoms that your Challenge Profile questions were designed to uncover. Some longer term health and lifestyle circumstances also make it hard for your body to maintain its vitality. We factor these into the calculation.

6. Damage Age

Your Damage Age is an assessment of the damage you've accumulated from wear & tear, sickness, sun and environment.

How It's Calculated

Your Challenge Profile questions tell us something about the wear & tear, sickness, sun and environment you've been exposed to.

7. Summary Age

This number puts everything together. This summary number reflects the other bio-ages, and also your life-expectancy.

How It's Calculated

Suprisingly, human mortality for adults follows a predictable pattern described by a formula called the Gompertz-Makeham Equation2. We plug the answers and data we collect here into this equation to get an educated guess as to how long you'll live. We then work back from that prediction to give you a Summary Bio-Age.


  1. P.W.F Wilson, R.B D'Agostino, D. Levy, A.M. Belanger, H. Silbershatz, W.B. Kannel. Prediction of Coronary Heart Disease Using Risk Factor Categories. Circulation 1997 (18): 1837–1847
  2. W.M. Makeham. On the Law of Mortality and the Construction of Annuity Tables. J. Inst. Actuaries and Assur. Mag. 8: 301–310 (1860)