I Click It So You Don’t Have To: “How Old Do You Look?”

by Michael on October 1, 2009 · 2 comments

Since I brought you the inaugural “I Click It” post, there’s good news and bad: on the plus side, it looks like Men’s Health has fixed the worst examples of incredibly non-descriptive “teases.” On the negative side, the actual articles behind those links are still often useless.

Yesterday this was the headline I saw in my RSS inbox:

how old do you look

Okay, this is kind of unfair: anyone with a shard of brain in their head should be skeptical of that come-on from the get-go. But in the spirit of clicking it so you don’t have to, I pressed on. What would the questions be? “What is your waist-to-shoulder ratio“? “Are you balding”? “Do you have visible serratus muscles“?

Unfortunately, this quiz doesn’t even go that deep. Instead, it’s nine lifestyle and nutrition questions:

  1. How often have you had a good night’s sleep?
  2. Selected whole-grain products instead of white bread, white pasta and white rice?
  3. Been able to control your irritation with situations in your life?
  4. Done resistance-training exercises (training major muscle groups with your bodyweight, freeweights or weight machines)?
  5. Weighed yourself?
  6. Used a moisturizer with sunscreen on your face?
  7. Eaten colorful fruits and vegetables with every meal?
  8. Taken fish-oil supplements or eaten two to three servings of fish weekly?
  9. Done regular stretching exercises, yoga, Pilates, tai chi, or lap swimming?

First, why aren’t these all at least complete sentences? Second, even answering a few of these “sometimes” rather than “very often” gets you the response that “wrinkles are starting to show.” And the question “Weighed yourself?” is out of left field: the MH editors should know as well as anyone that weight isn’t what you should be looking at — lean muscle can make you heavier — body fat percentage and measurements are more important.

But those aren’t even the primary problems with this quiz. Let’s just say that performing all of these tasks daily will keep you from wrinkling, losing your hair or going gray. When you start doing these things makes just as much — or more — difference as what you do. If I’ve been working out and eating like an athlete since I was 20, yeah, I’m probably going to rock the 30-year reunion. But if I’m 55 and I just began a massively healthy lifestyle after decades of smoking, partying and eating nothing but kielbasa and pork butt, I shouldn’t expect to look 45, or even necessarily even 55.

Verdict: while this quiz is a clever way of telling you what you should be doing (except maybe weighing yourself daily) to start slowing the visible march of time, as a gauge of anything else at all it’s about as useful as the old acquaintance with the fake grin who tells you “you haven’t aged in 20 years.”

Is Your Body Younger than Your Birth Certificate? [Men’s Health]

2 comments… read them below or add one

Alex Kay October 4, 2009 at 1:33 pm

Michael you really hit it right on the nail here. Bravo… What a stupid quiz, by the way. Men’s Health propaganda! Who the hell eats colourful vegetables with every meal, anyway? I like the overall idea, but doing all that all the time would definetely cause wrinkles!

Take care!


Michael October 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm

Thanks for the good words, Alex!

I like a few colorful vegetables now and then myself, but I’d at least like to have the option to abstain at breakfast.

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