Health researchers have developed a scientifically rigorous death risk calculator that predicts a person's risk of dying within five years and say they hope people will use it to improve their health.

Using a simple set of around a dozen questions about such things as the number of cars you own or whether you tend to be a slow or, better, a fast walker, the predictor can give a five-year death risk calculation for any Briton aged between 40 and 70 years old.

The researchers who developed the calculator with Sense About Science, a U.K. charity that works to help people make sense of scientific and medical claims, say it could improve health awareness and also in future be used by family doctors to identify high-risk potential patients.