Parallel progress in perceived age and life expectancy

Ulrich K Steiner*, Lisbeth Aagaard Larsen, Kaare Christensen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Human life expectancy continues to rise in most populations. This rise not only leads to longer lives but is accompanied by improved health at a given age, i.e. recent cohorts show a reduction of biological age for a given chronological age. Despite or even because of the diversity of biomarkers of ageing, an accurate quantification of a general shift in biological age across time has been challenging.

METHODS: Here, we compared age perception of facial images taken in 2001 over a decade and related these changes in age perception to changes in life expectancy.

RESULTS: We show that age perception changes substantially across time and parallels the progress in life expectancy. In 2012, people aged 70+ needed to look 2.3 years younger to be rated the same age as in 2002.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that age perception reflects the past life events better than predicts future length of life, i.e. it is written in your face how much you have aged so far. We draw this conclusion since age perception among elderly paralleled changes in life expectancy at birth but not changes in remaining life expectancies. We suggest that changes in age perception should be explored for younger age classes to inform on ageing processes, including whether ageing is delayed or slowed with increasing life expectancy.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe journals of gerontology. Series A, Biological sciences and medical sciences
ISSN1079-5006
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019

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@article{3e2bf49bea7a44838315532e05001926,
title = "Parallel progress in perceived age and life expectancy",
abstract = "BACKGROUND: Human life expectancy continues to rise in most populations. This rise not only leads to longer lives but is accompanied by improved health at a given age, i.e. recent cohorts show a reduction of biological age for a given chronological age. Despite or even because of the diversity of biomarkers of ageing, an accurate quantification of a general shift in biological age across time has been challenging.METHODS: Here, we compared age perception of facial images taken in 2001 over a decade and related these changes in age perception to changes in life expectancy.RESULTS: We show that age perception changes substantially across time and parallels the progress in life expectancy. In 2012, people aged 70+ needed to look 2.3 years younger to be rated the same age as in 2002.CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that age perception reflects the past life events better than predicts future length of life, i.e. it is written in your face how much you have aged so far. We draw this conclusion since age perception among elderly paralleled changes in life expectancy at birth but not changes in remaining life expectancies. We suggest that changes in age perception should be explored for younger age classes to inform on ageing processes, including whether ageing is delayed or slowed with increasing life expectancy.",
keywords = "Biomarker, ageing process, biological age, chronological age",
author = "Steiner, {Ulrich K} and Larsen, {Lisbeth Aagaard} and Kaare Christensen",
note = "{\circledC} The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.",
year = "2019",
doi = "10.1093/gerona/glz096",
language = "English",
journal = "Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences",
issn = "1079-5006",
publisher = "Heinemann",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Parallel progress in perceived age and life expectancy

AU - Steiner, Ulrich K

AU - Larsen, Lisbeth Aagaard

AU - Christensen, Kaare

N1 - © The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of The Gerontological Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, please e-mail: journals.permissions@oup.com.

PY - 2019

Y1 - 2019

N2 - BACKGROUND: Human life expectancy continues to rise in most populations. This rise not only leads to longer lives but is accompanied by improved health at a given age, i.e. recent cohorts show a reduction of biological age for a given chronological age. Despite or even because of the diversity of biomarkers of ageing, an accurate quantification of a general shift in biological age across time has been challenging.METHODS: Here, we compared age perception of facial images taken in 2001 over a decade and related these changes in age perception to changes in life expectancy.RESULTS: We show that age perception changes substantially across time and parallels the progress in life expectancy. In 2012, people aged 70+ needed to look 2.3 years younger to be rated the same age as in 2002.CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that age perception reflects the past life events better than predicts future length of life, i.e. it is written in your face how much you have aged so far. We draw this conclusion since age perception among elderly paralleled changes in life expectancy at birth but not changes in remaining life expectancies. We suggest that changes in age perception should be explored for younger age classes to inform on ageing processes, including whether ageing is delayed or slowed with increasing life expectancy.

AB - BACKGROUND: Human life expectancy continues to rise in most populations. This rise not only leads to longer lives but is accompanied by improved health at a given age, i.e. recent cohorts show a reduction of biological age for a given chronological age. Despite or even because of the diversity of biomarkers of ageing, an accurate quantification of a general shift in biological age across time has been challenging.METHODS: Here, we compared age perception of facial images taken in 2001 over a decade and related these changes in age perception to changes in life expectancy.RESULTS: We show that age perception changes substantially across time and parallels the progress in life expectancy. In 2012, people aged 70+ needed to look 2.3 years younger to be rated the same age as in 2002.CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that age perception reflects the past life events better than predicts future length of life, i.e. it is written in your face how much you have aged so far. We draw this conclusion since age perception among elderly paralleled changes in life expectancy at birth but not changes in remaining life expectancies. We suggest that changes in age perception should be explored for younger age classes to inform on ageing processes, including whether ageing is delayed or slowed with increasing life expectancy.

KW - Biomarker

KW - ageing process

KW - biological age

KW - chronological age

U2 - 10.1093/gerona/glz096

DO - 10.1093/gerona/glz096

M3 - Journal article

JO - Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences

JF - Journals of Gerontology. Series A: Biological Sciences & Medical Sciences

SN - 1079-5006

ER -