SAN DIEGO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Looking young is one of the most sought-after goals of the rich and famous. Flashbulbs capture celebrities walking the red carpet with pearly white smiles, wrinkle-free faces, whittled waistlines and revealing outfits. But that youthful exterior often masks a rapidly aging interior.
The creators of the RealAge test, the landmark online health assessment that provides the most scientific calculation of your body’s biological age, went beyond the glossy exteriors to look at the lifestyles that could be aging them prematurely…and found many of the same activities that affect the RealAge of the average American.
“Celebrities deal with the same issues (stress, relationships) and temptations (junk food, smoking) as the average person, only it’s magnified by their being in the public eye,” says Keith Roach, MD, Chief Medical Officer of RealAge. “The pressures of constantly being a public figure can trigger activities that make them age faster.”
What’s likely making some celebs’ RealAges older than they are, while others grow younger?
Alcohol: When a little turns into a lot
“Drinking too much, whether it’s a daily occurrence or binge drinking, obviously puts you at risk for a whole lot of bad things,” says Dr. Roach, “from liver disease to cancer.” On the other hand, a drink a day can be “moderately” good for your heart, according to Roach.
Musicians Amy Winehouse and Keith Richards are almost as famous for extreme drinking as they are for extraordinary music. They’re not alone. Just for one: Former “24” star Kiefer Sutherland spent 48 days in jail for DUI. The cost to their bodies? Excessive alcohol use can make a man’s RealAge almost 8 years older; a woman’s, more than 11 years.
Smoking: Has President Obama finally kicked butts?
First Lady Michelle Obama says her husband hasn’t smoked in a year, but the President’s not talking. Given the state of the world, it wouldn’t be surprising if he were still sneaking cigs to lighten the stress load. “Unfortunately, it’s a lousy way of dealing with stress,” says Dr. Roach. “Smoking is a high-speed ager. It makes your RealAge about 8 years older, and fast.”
Johnny Depp, once a heavy chain smoker, is still catching flak about it, but not because he’s lighting up. Anti-smoking groups are fuming about Depp’s new animated movie, Rango, where the supporting characters (not Depp’s) smoke. Another quitter whose RealAge will now grow younger: actress Katherine Heigl, who played a doctor on “Grey’s Anatomy.” Heigl used electronic cigarettes to help her kick the habit.
Anger mismanagement: Chris Brown has lots of company
Chris Brown’s backstage blow-up at “Good Morning America,” after being questioned about his alleged 2009 assault on then-girlfriend Rihanna, is just the latest example of celebs who have scary temper tantrums. Grown-up meltdowns helped cost Charlie Sheen and basketball coach Bob Knight their jobs. Mel Gibson’s serial eruptions have made international headlines.
“Hostility and anger affect your RealAge—how old your body thinks you are—much more than most experts thought even a few years ago,” says Dr. Roach. This year’s major update of the RealAge Test incorporates these new findings. “By contrast, optimists manage to deal with bad things in good ways, which reduces health-sapping stress.”
Unhappy love lives: Divorce isn’t all bad
Since his much-publicized break-up, Tiger Woods has had a rocky time off and on the golf course (despite his rebound at the Masters), but his problems could go beyond his tarnished image and take a swing at his health: RealAge data shows divorced men age faster.
However, there’s a brighter side. “While divorce is bad, RealAge data also shows that being unhappily married is worse,” says Dr. Roach. “When it comes to relationships, the best way to grow younger is to be in a happy marriage.” That’s good news for Denzel Washington and Tom Hanks. Both have been married for more than 20 years, a rarity in Hollywood, which is famous for its in-and-out marriages. While both stars are in their 50s, based on the longevity of their marriages, “Their bodies are 3.5 years closer to being newlyweds,” says Roach.
RealAge.com is a leading health and wellness website centered around the groundbreaking RealAge Test—a highly scientific but simple-to-do calculation of how old your body thinks you are. The patented Test, which launched in 1999 and has been taken by more than 27 million people, is backed by powerful new technology that allows it to be constantly updated with the latest medical studies. Anyone who takes the Test receives a personalized Grow Younger Plan® designed to turn back your body clock. The site also offers health tips, dozens of other tests, and practical, inspiring information to help make you younger. RealAge aggressively guards users’ privacy and does not share its members’ identities with third party advertisers. RealAge, Inc. is a wholly owned subsidiary of Hearst Magazines, a division of the Hearst Corporation.