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OK, I have to dust off my dormant algebra skills for this one! Our fact-checker contacted one of the authors of the study for me, and he wrote back to confirm: "If you score 8, you have, on average, a 21% higher survival rate than someone who scores 7 (over an average of 6.3 years). Likewise, your survival rate is 21% lower than someone who scores 9."
To me, this sounds like he's saying if the survival rate of someone who scored 10 is X, then the survival rate of someone who scored 9 is X - .21X, and the survival rate of someone who scored 8 is (X - .21X) - .21(X - .21X), which I *believe* works out to .603X.
But it's very important to remember that humans are not mathematical equations. The researchers took into account gender, body mass index, and other complex factors in determining mortality risk, and they came up with averages to reflect relative risk. This study suggests that people with more physical dexterity tend to live longer. It doesn't predict exactly how long any particular person will live.
We had very little space in the magazine to discuss this study, but NBC News just published a much more thorough report on it, which you can read here: http://vitals.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/12/13/15870881-can-you-do-this-simple-sitting-test-predicts-longevity
I hope this answers your questions!
In Response to Re: February-March 2014 Issue: Healthy You, Test # 4:
Thank you MGuroff. Excuse my math deficiency, but what percentage, then, am I more likely to die than those who score 10? 42%? Or since 9 = 121% more likely, 1.21 x .21 = 25.4%? Thanks.
Posted by jl9319