Your Chronological Age is Different from Your Biological Age


A groundbreaking new study confirms that people age at different rates. Rejoice, for your chronological age is, in fact, just a number! However, your biological age can reveal a great deal about your general health and the rate at which you are aging.

This study was unique in that it did not focus its aging research on older subjects. Instead, the scientists’ objective was to reveal more about the aging process in younger people, and therefore provide a foundation for devising preventative therapies for age-related diseases.

A cohort of nearly 1,000 participants born in New Zealand in 1972 and 1973 underwent extensive testing at ages 26, 32, and 38. These tests measured 18 different biological markers that each form a piece of the aging puzzle. The ‘health’ of each participant’s pulmonary, periodontal, cardiovascular, renal, hepatic, and immune systems were assessed using these biomarkers. With these results, researchers calculated a biological age for each participant and then compared the changes in these measurements over time, yielding a quantified pace of aging.

The majority of the participants had biological ages similar to their chronological age, but some participants were found to have aged as much as 3 years physiologically over the course of only one calendar year. Furthermore, scientists found that participants with an accelerated rate of aging performed worse on physical and cognitive ability assessments.

The common saying, “you’re as old (or young) as you feel,” also rang true in this study’s results as well. Participants with an older biological age perceived themselves to be in poorer health than their biologically younger peers. And in case you need even more convincing to take better care of yourself, independent observers scored participants with higher biological ages as looking older than their biologically younger peers as well. (Keep in mind that all of the participants were the same age chronologically!)

One of the biggest challenges in assessing aging is that it is essentially caused by all of the cumulative experiences that you have throughout your life. For doctors and scientists, it is nearly impossible to determine whether lifestyle, stress, medical history, or other circumstances are individually responsible for many age-related diseases. Ultimately, it is a combination of all these factors that either ages you prematurely or keeps you healthy and prevents illnesses now and in the future. This is precisely why so many biomarkers were used in the study and why multiple beneficial lifestyle choices typically have a synergistic effect on your overall health.

This study will have significant implications on further research to prevent aging, which will help us not only increase our lifespans, but more importantly, increase our healthspan, or “the years of life lived without disease and disability.” Living longer doesn’t help us much if we are too sick to fully enjoy the extra years we have. Making proactive decisions about your health now can have lasting positive effects.

Ashley Huntsberry-Lett

Follow this author

Ashley is responsible for the planning and creation of’s award-winning content. As a teenager, she assisted in caring for her step-father during his three-year battle with colon cancer. Now, through her work at, she strives to inform and empower the caregivers who devote so much to helping and healing the ones they love.

View full profile

You May Also Like

Free AgingCare Guides

Get the latest care advice and articles delivered to your inbox!


I took a test of my biological age. It made me realize that the way I am cooking for my mother is going to do me in. I've never eaten fried foods and always had lots of veggies. My mother likes fried foods and lots of butter on starchy things. I don't like to cook two meals, so end up cooking something she'll eat. For my own sake, I need to start cooking the old way for myself.

My mother is an old country woman, raised on fried chicken. She's 89 going on 110. She says her age is a testament that eating the way she likes is fine. Problem is that she hasn't been healthy her whole life. We need to work more on being healthy.
Before taking care of my parents I felt like I was 15-20 years younger than my age. Six years later, I now feel like I am 15-20 years older than my age.
ashley , you have way too many surnames and your writing is as boring as sunday school . honestly , i couldnt read it . spice it up with some impossible exxagerations or something . this is 2016 . to get an audience you have to light yourself on fire or insult a minority . throw a turd at angie merkel at the g - 7 conference .
just tryin to be helpful ..