ATLANTA, GA–(Marketwired – January 20, 2014) – Sharecare, the health and wellness engagement platform created by Dr. Mehmet Oz and Jeff Arnold, today announced that a study validating its scientifically based health risk assessment, the RealAge Test, has appeared in PLOS ONE, an international, peer-reviewed journal that publishes primary scientific and medical research.
James H. Fowler, co-author of Connected: The Surprising Power of Our Social Networks and How They Shape Our Lives — How Your Friends’ Friends’ Friends Affect Everything You Feel, Think, and Do and a professor in the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and his PhD student, William R. Hobbs, set out to explore the validity of Sharecare’s RealAge Test, which determines the biological age of your body based on an online questionnaire about your health status, and good and bad health habits.
Fowler explained the motivation for the study: “About 70 to 90 percent of Americans seek out health information online. But there is widespread concern that this information may be of low quality and therefore its use might mislead patients in their self-management. Many influential studies suggest that healthcare professionals should be careful only to recommend high quality or credible online sources of health information. Therefore, we wanted to know whether the RealAge Test delivers what it promises: a valid assessment of a person’s health.”
In their study, Prediction of Mortality Using On-line, Self-Reported Health Data: empirical test of the RealAge score, the researchers matched 190,000 RealAge Test respondents in California to death records from the California Department of Public Health to see whether the RealAge Test result could be used to predict a person’s risk of mortality. Fowler says he was surprised by the results: “We expected there to be some relationship between mortality and the RealAge Test, but we were amazed by its accuracy. What our study shows is that if you are 50 but have a RealAge of 55, your life expectancy is five years shorter than the average 50 year old. By contrast, if you are 50 and have taken good care of yourself, and have a RealAge of 47, you can expect to live three years longer than the average 50 year old. Bottom line, the RealAge score is more accurate than calendar age alone, and is even more accurate than another health score widely-used by doctors called the Framingham ATP-III.”
“Validation from a researcher of Dr. Fowler’s esteem is gratifying to say the least, and we hope it encourages more consumers to join the 33 million people who already have taken the RealAge Test,” said Arnold, chairman and CEO of Sharecare. “In addition to helping our users understand how good and bad habits impact their life expectancy, the RealAge Test is the entry point for people to access highly personalized tools and programs to help them live their healthiest lives — and even improve their RealAge, thus extending their life expectancy.”
The study was conducted independently by Fowler and Hobbs at UC San Diego, in cooperation with Sharecare.