Research Questions

  1. How accurate are the existing mortality and disease risk calculators?
  2. What risk factors should be included in the updated Vitality Age calculations and how to quantify them?
  3. What are the best approaches for updating the Vitality Age calculator?

The updated Vitality Age Calculator is an online tool that gives users a snapshot of their overall health based on lifestyle choices and clinical risk factors. While maintaining the core concepts of the original Vitality Age model, the new version expands the number of input factors used in the analysis, builds on a more comprehensive and consistent data source, incorporates age-related mortality, improves handling of missing data, and substantially expands the possibilities for sensitivity analysis of results. In this report, we detail the steps taken to create the model. The report includes discussion of existing mortality rate and disease risk calculators. We also present the theoretical foundations of the calculator, the collection and processing of data, and the selection of risk factors and their applicability in different geographical contexts. The calculation algorithm and its programming as well as the design of the survey accompanying the calculator are discussed.

Key Findings

  • Extracting coefficients from systematic reviews and meta-analyses on risk factors appears to be an under-utilised approach in risk calculator development.
  • VA.3 uses data from the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries and Risk Factors Study (GBD), a large database quantifying modifiable risks of death, disease and disability through systematic reviews of the existing literature.
  • The new model considers the impacts of individual's health and lifestyle on each identified disease separately and simulates changes in risk factors over time. It also improves handling of missing data, estimating unknown values for biometric indicators from other risk factors values using predictive regression analysis and allowing the use of population average exposure in place of missing values for other risk factors.

Research conducted by

This research was funded by the Discovery group of companies, part of Discovery Limited and conducted by RAND Europe.

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