Heads of health have been accused of unnecessarily scaring people into thinking they might have a heart attack or stroke early.
Last Tuesday, Public Health England launched a major campaign urging people over 30 to take their heart age test online, noting that "four in five people have a heart age above their true age."
The initiative generated great publicity, with the BBC giving it prominent coverage.
In a promotional tweet, PHE stated, "Did you know that having a heart older than real age means you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke?"
Health chiefs have been accused of unnecessarily scaring people into thinking they might have a heart attack or stroke early.
But leading scientists have criticized the age test of the heart as "ridiculous". and "nonsensical without evidence."
They say you can overestimate a person's heart age if, like most, the individual does not know their cholesterol levels or blood pressure readings.
In the absence of these readings, the test simply calculates an individual's heart age using the information the person has provided, including date of birth, height, weight, known health conditions, and family history of cardiovascular disease.
Then connect the gaps for cholesterol and blood pressure using national averages. This can result in the assumption that the individual's heart is in worse condition than in the case.
Dr. Ben Goldacre, author of the book Bad Science, wrote on Twitter: "This test is ridiculous, try it." The PHE tool tells a woman in her 30s that her heart age is greater than her actual age because They have not made cholesterol, and they tell him to make his cholesterol [going to see her] GP. & # 39;
Last Tuesday, Public Health England launched a major campaign urging people over 30 to take their heart age test online.
A point test conducted by a 43-year-old man gave a cardiac age of 41 years when he entered all his details, including cholesterol and blood pressure. When he omitted these readings, the age of his heart soared from five to 46 years.
Cardiff reader Pat Powell said: "I did the test online without including my blood pressure or cholesterol readings, my heart age was about 10 years older than I. When I retested my blood pressure and blood tests, cholesterol readings, the age of my heart was perfect. Is this test simply scaremongering?
At the end of the heart age test, people who did not get their cholesterol or blood pressure readings are recommended: • Make an appointment with your doctor, nurse or pharmacist to have blood pressure tests done and the cholesterol & # 39; Dr. Goldacre said that this advice could result in tens of thousands of perfectly healthy 30-year-olds reserving "totally unnecessary GP consultations" at a considerable cost to the NHS.
He feared that PHE was prioritizing the impact of the media and public commitment on the production of a rigorous test that would provide significant results.
The fellow science writer, Professor Tim Spector, author of The Diet Myth, opined: "More nonsense without PHE testing."
Others pointed out that the Heart Age Test, which is a collaboration between PHE, British Heart Foundation and University College London, does not take into account the amount of exercise that an individual performs.
But Professor Jamie Waterall, national leader of PHE for the prevention of cardiovascular diseases, dismissed the criticism.
He said there was "no evidence to suggest" that the test would create an additional demand for GPs, adding, "What we've seen is a huge increase in people's access to lifestyle information, which is fantastic. .
"High blood pressure and high cholesterol are two main causes of heart attack and stroke, but millions do not know they are affected, so the test encourages anyone who does not know their blood pressure and cholesterol levels to discover.
"The Heart Age Test has strong clinical and academic support, as it is based on the recommendations of Joint British Societies on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases."