Will I Get Fat When I Get Older? (Quiz)

overweight adult
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You may not want to admit it, but most of us would love to know what our lives are going to be like when we get older. And we may even wonder if we'll become overweight. It might seem vain to even think about it, but the fact is that your weight may dictate the quality of your life and the state of your health as you age.

To get a better idea of how your weight may change as you age, take the quiz below and count the "yes" answers to each item.

Then scroll down the page to see your score and what it means.

Quiz: Will I Get Fat When I Get Older?

[ ] Do you count calories or monitor your food intake? You may not check your caloric intake every day, but do you check once in a while to make sure that you are eating the right nutrients?

[ ] Do you measure your portion sizes when you eat? Do you consume reasonable portions of food at mealtime and when you eat snacks throughout the day? 

[ ] Do you exercise 6-7 days per week? This doesn't mean that you workout to the brink of breathlessness every day, but do you do something almost every day?

[ ] Do you do high-intensity workouts? Do exercise vigorously? Do you continue to participate in hard workouts in addition to easy and moderate exercise sessions?

[ ] Do you monitor your workout intensity? It's hard to know if you're working hard enough without checking your intensity level.  Do you know how to monitor your workouts and do you do it on a regular basis?

[ ] Do you have friends and family who support a healthy lifestyle? Do your friends exercise? Do they eat ​a healthy diet? Do they support your decisions to exercise and eat right?

[ ] Do you stay informed about health topics? Does your facebook or twitter feed include messages about health, exercise and good eating?

Do you get fitness and diet news updates?

[ ] Do you get plenty of quality sleep? Do you get enough rest so that you have sufficient energy to make it through most days without napping or using excessive caffeine?

[ ] Do you eat enough lean protein? Do you include some source of low-fat dairy, lean meat or high protein grain at most meals?

[ ] Do you go to the doctor for regular check-ups? Do you communicate with your physician regarding changes to your health and follow your medical provider's instructions regarding medical care?

[ ] Do you manage stress well? Do you have healthy ways of managing the difficult times in your life? Do you avoid stress-related binge eating or eating for comfort?

[ ] Do you monitor your weight and/or body fat on a daily or weekly basis? Do you get on the scale every day? Have you had your body fat checked and do you compare numbers from year to year?

[ ] Do you hydrate primarily with water? Do you drink plenty of water every day - instead of soda or sugary beverages?

Got your number? Here's what it means:

9-13 Congratulations! The healthy habits you practice are the habits that are shared by people who put on less weight as they age. These people continue to maintain leaner bodies and very active lifestyles. These are also people who are at lower risk for many diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

5-9 Good job, you’re on your way to staying lean and healthy. But to maximize your chances of keeping the pounds from creeping onto your figure, look back at the list, click on the links and see how many more habits you can incorporate into your life.

It might be as simple as getting healthy messages on a regular basis or getting on the scale more often. Gentle daily reminders make a big difference in maintaining your weight.

0-4 There’s no time like the present to make a change! Whether you want to lose weight now, or just keep the body you have from getting any bigger, you should begin to adapt healthier habits. Start by setting a goal to incorporate one or two changes into your life. Then gradually add more of the healthy habits listed on page one.

How Was the Quiz Developed?

There are three primary sources that were used to develop the items on the quiz:

  1. The National Weight Control Registry (NWCR). This expansive registry follows people who have lost weight and kept it off for a significant period of time. Researchers have been able to analyze their lifestyles to come up with a list of habits shared by a majority of them.​
  2. Scientific studies into weight gain and aging. Several recent studies have looked at the habits of people who gain little or no weight as they age. One, in particular, Maintaining a High Physical Activity Level Over 20 Years and Weight Gain included over 3500 men and women who were monitored over a 20 year span. The data collected allowed scientists to identify habits practiced by people who remain leaner as they age.​
  1. 20+ years of personal experience. As a certified personal trainer, health coach and health writer who has been in the business for over 20 years, I've noticed trends among clients, family members and friends as we all age. The people who have remained lean, athletic and healthy through young adulthood, raising children, the challenges of middle age and beyond, seem to share many of the habits listed above. While this experience is anecdotal, it is consistent with the data that researchers have found in more scientific settings.


    Butryn ML, Phelan S, Hill JO, Wing RR. "Consistent self-monitoring of weight: a key component of successful weight loss maintenance.." Obesity December 2007.

    Hill JO, Wyatt H, Phelan S, Wing R. "The National Weight Control Registry: is it useful in helping deal with our obesity epidemic?." Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior July 2005.

    The National Weight Control Registry. NWCR Facts. Accessed: June 30, 2012. http://www.nwcr.ws/Research/default.htm

    Phelan S, Roberts M, Lang W, Wing RR.. "Empirical evaluation of physical activity recommendations for weight control in women.." Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise October 2007.

    Phelan S, Wyatt HR, Hill JO, Wing RR. "Are the eating and exercise habits of successful weight losers changing?." Obesity April 2006.

    Arlene L. Hankinson, MD, MS; Martha L. Daviglus, MD, PhD; Claude Bouchard, PhD; Mercedes Carnethon, PhD; Cora E. Lewis, MD, MSPH; Pamela J. Schreiner, PhD; Kiang Liu, PhD; Stephen Sidney, MD, MPH " Maintaining a High Physical Activity Level Over 20 Years and Weight Gain." Journal of the American Medical Association December 15 2010.

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