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Thirteen questions predict odds of surviving next five years

Smoking history biggest factor for otherwise healthy people

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CLEVELAND, Ohio – They're 13 questions that researchers say can help predict if you'll survive the next five years.

The UK study, published in The Lancet, looked at almost 500,000 people between 40- and 70-years-old.  They were grouped by age and by answers to the 13 questions, ranging from smoking history, self-evaluation of general health, pace of walking and medical history.

Dr. Roy Buchinsky, Director of Wellness at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, said researchers found some answers did matter more.

"Men, this was probably the most important question out of all of the 13 questions was 'How do you rate your general health?'" said Buchinsky.

For women, a different question was more significant.

"It was very interesting, because the number one predictor of 5 year mortality was 'Have you had a previous diagnosis of cancer?'" said Buchinsky.

Smoking history was most predictive for people without major health problems.

So what do the results mean?

"If you have a 2 percent chance of dying in the next five years it means 98 out of 100 people with a similar history as yours will survive over the next five years," said Buchinsky.

Buchinsky said the results can serve as motivation.

"Use this as a beacon, use this as a starting point," said Buchinsky, "to say these are my weaknesses, this is where I can improve, and how can I make a difference in my life but also in my own family's life."

To answer the 13 questions and learn more about the research, click here.