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Research Questions

  1. What would be the best approach to include pre-existing conditions in the computation of VA.3?
  2. Which conditions could we include and which data source should be used?
  3. What are the potential limitations of this VA.3 extension?

The updated Vitality Age Calculator (VA.3) is an online tool that gives users a snapshot of their overall health based on lifestyle choices — including diet, alcohol consumption and exercise habits — and clinical risk factors such as blood pressure, cholesterol or body mass index. This is done by calculating a bespoke life expectancy estimate using a pre-defined set of the individual's risk factor measures and comparing it to the life expectancy of an average person with the same sex, age, and country characteristics. The Vitality Age with pre-existing conditions (VAPC) is an extension to VA.3, allowing explicit differentiation between individuals with one or more selected pre-existing conditions that negatively affect their health and life expectancy. In this report, we look at the feasibility of including some pre-existing conditions, such as cancers and heart or brain ischaemia, in the algorithm to calculate the VAPC.

Key Findings

  • This extension of VA.3 allows taking into account the pre- existence of 6 conditions, namely breast cancer, colon and rectum, oesophageal and prostate cancers as well as ischaemic heart diseases and stroke.
  • Data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program of the National Cancer Institute in the United States were used in the computation for the four types of cancers, differentiating by stage of cancer and years since diagnosis.
  • Steps must be taken when feeding back the resulting VAPC estimate to individuals with pre-existing conditions to ensure that they are aware of the limitations and to inform them that, given their condition(s), a more accurate estimation of their prognosis can be provided by a specialist.

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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