Thought Leadership

Pioneering Algorithm Calculates the Number of Years Individuals can Expect to Live in Good Health


Vitality today reveals the results of research quantifying the widening gap between lifespan (life expectancy) and healthspan (the number of years lived in good health) globally, reflecting a diminishing quality of life in later years. Alongside this research, Vitality and RAND Europe have developed a pioneering algorithm that will allow individuals, for the first time, to understand how their lifestyle choices impact both their length and quality of life, enabling them to take actions that will maximize the number of years they spend in good health in the future.

“Incentivizing positive lifestyle changes in a world forever changed by the global pandemic can have a profound impact on the health of individuals and reduce the burden on health services,” said Adrian Gore, Discovery/Global Vitality Chief Executive. “Our global network of leading insurers has a unique opportunity to monetize and incentivize better future health and given global trends, and I believe we have a responsibility to act. Over the last 30 years, scientific change has driven increases in lifespan. Improving healthspan globally will require a greater focus on behavior change – with benefits for individuals, the economy and society.”

“The disconnect we experience between our current and future selves leads to suboptimal decision-making in areas of finance and health,” said Professor Hal Hershfield, UCLA Anderson School of Management Professor of Marketing and Behavioral Decision Making. “This emotional divide between selves led us to explore a new question: What are people most interested in knowing about their futures? – since these insights can serve as a useful stepping-stone towards making healthier lifestyle choices. Knowing what information people value on this journey to wellbeing is an important factor in bridging the gulf between a person’s current and future self, and potentially towards maximizing health over time.”

The new algorithm, developed by Vitality in collaboration with RAND Europe, will provide individuals with a personalized view of their lifespan and healthspan, as well as bespoke recommendations for improving these measures, delivered in a way that best resonates with them. This world-first public calculator of individual healthspan – the Vitality HEALTHY FUTURES calculator – will be available on the Vitality International website from today (October 11, 2021) for a limited time.

“At John Hancock, we believe life insurers can and should help drive better health outcomes for our customers. Today’s research findings underscore that important mission and the impact that small, everyday steps toward wellness can have on our quality of life,” said Brooks Tingle, President and CEO, John Hancock Insurance. “The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the importance of baseline wellbeing, and it made so many of us more aware of our physical and financial health. In collaboration with Vitality, we have sought to help our customers live longer, healthier lives at every turn. It is my hope that with increased understanding of insights like those shared today, others will join us in answering this urgent call.”

[1] Calculated for remaining lifespan of an average person aged 40 globally.

Note to editors: Appendices offering examples of age-appropriate lifestyle interventions that people can adopt over the course of their lives and the global healthspan gap of 27 countries are available upon request.

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