Medical History Form Image

A study published in the Lancet this month finds that a questionnaire based on self-reported health measures provides the strongest predictors of all-cause mortality.

Researchers from Sweden have assessed data obtained from the UK Biobank as predictors of all-cause and cause-specific mortality. The study utilized data from the UK Biobank project, consisting of approximately 500 000 men and women between the ages of 40 and 70 years who were recruited between 2007 and 2010. Each participant had blood drawn for the Biobank, in addition to other physical measures and biological samples. In all, the study utilized a total of 655 measurements that were separated into ten categories: blood assays, cognitive function, early life factors, family history, health and medical history, lifestyle and environment, physical measures, psychosocial factors, sex-specific factors, and sociodemographics.

The results revealed that the most common cause of death in women was breast cancer, while the most common cause of death in men was found to be lung cancer. When assessing information gathered from blood samples, the strongest predictor of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular mortality was red blood cell size. Other physical measures that showed the strongest prediction of all-cause mortality were pulse rate, and forced expiratory volume.

Overall the researchers found that information obtained by interviewing patients, without the use of physical exams, provided the strongest predictors of all-cause mortality in participants aged 40-70 years. For both males and females the study found that the strongest predictors of death were self-reported health and walking pace. The study also found that smoking is still the greatest mortality predictor. The researchers created a prediction score based on 13 questions for men and 11 questions for women, aged between 40-70 years. The questionnaire can be accessed online at

The authors suggest that the prediction score can be used to increase awareness of personal health status, and therefore promote healthy lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or increasing physical activity. In addition health professionals can use the score to identify high risk patients and tailor specific interventions for personal needs. In addition, they suggest that the information can also be used for creating public health policy.


Ganna, A, Inglesson, E. “5 year mortality predictors in 498 103 UK Biobank participants: a prospective population based study” The Lancet, Published Online: 03 June 2015.

“Ubble – UK Longevity Explorer Website” Available from: Last Accessed June 5, 2015.

Image courtesy of phasinphoto at





Written by Deborah Tallarigo, PhD

Facebook Comments