Morality test results shouldn’t be taken at face value

It seems as if Americans are always attempting to plan the goings on in their lives, trying to figure out how much time is left for them to do each day’s tasks. Now, this planning has gone a bit too far as Americans are trying to figure out how much time is left in their lives. The findings of a recent study have birthed a new 12-question quiz-type mortality test, which can give participants an idea of their chance of dying within the next four years.

Geared toward individuals in their 50s, answers to the questions of this quiz can indicate one’s mortality rate by way of a point system. For example, difficulty bathing one’s self adds two points to one’s final score, and so does having a smoking habit. The less points one receives, the better, as those with 5 points or less have a less than 4 percent chance of dying within the next four years, while those with 14 or more points have a 64 percent chance of mortality. However, the quiz cannot always give a complete picture of actual mortality.

“Even if somebody looks at their numbers and finds they have a 60 percent risk of death, there could be other mitigating factors,” Dr. Kenneth Covinsky, a co-author of the study and Veterans Affairs researcher said to the Associated Press. Factors such as family history and being overweight aren’t taken into consideration in the quiz.

Those who are critical of the study are logical in their thinking, as it tries to equate finding the answer of one’s life expectancy with consulting an Ouija board or a taking a quiz in Cosmopolitan.

Life expectancy itself is also left up to chance and is not always an exact science: Even if one is terminally ill, death could still be untimely, as there is a chance they could be hit by a bus, gunned down or struck by lightning.

This “index,” as it is being called, is exactly that: an index. It is based on the findings of a health survey and is not the end-all, be-all that is going to give a certian prediction for the chances of one’s parent or grandparent dying within the next four years. Many individuals tend to take the results of these types of quizzes at face value, not realizing that the tests are merely a starting point for decision-making, the results of which should be discussed with a doctor.