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UNMC's College of Public Health launches online life expectancy calculator

Posted: 6:33 PM, Apr 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-04-17 19:33:33-04

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's hard to say no to the many donuts and pastries you'll find at The Highlander.

For Hannah Howard, it's tough to make healthy choices, but a new life-expectancy calculator could change her decisions.

"It said, like, 34 years.. I'm 24, 30 years isn't very long,” said Howard. “So I think it would just make me more aware of what I'm putting in my body and how I'm exercising and what I'm actually doing to stay healthy."

UNMC’s College of Public Health designed this life expectancy calculator specifically for adults in Nebraska.

“With this app, they can have a better idea of what they can do to have a healthier life or to extend their life," Dr. Dejun Su, PhD said.

The calculator displays the average longevity of Nebraskans by zip code.

“Physical environment, crime rates, employment opportunities, access to healthy food, access to parks--you know--sidewalks... all those factors will matter in terms of our health and well-being." said Dr. Su.

It's something Terri Sanders knows all about.

She operates one of the only healthy food stores in North Omaha.

“My zip code is 68110--I don't mind saying--and that little calculator over there gave me 25.6 years,” Sanders said. “Well, I need more years than that."

She says the longevity calculator was eye-opening.

“It is an indicator... and it kind of rings a bell and sounds an alarm in your life,” said Sanders.

So, how does it work?

UNMC has made it easy for you to figure out just how much time you have left here on Earth. All you do is type in a few numbers and generate your results.

The calculator asks for your height, weight, zip code, whether or not you’re a smoker, and how many servings of fruits and vegetables you eat per day.

Dr. Su says the zip code is one of the most important aspects of the calculator because where you live may determine how long you live.

“By highlighting the geographic disparities, I guess, you know we can better understand disparities and also where we should direct resources to those communities that would benefit the most,” Dr. Su said.

Dr. Su says he hopes the calculator allows people to live longer, healthier lives.