City Health Dept. report shows New Yorkers are living better lives
It looks like New Yorkers can drink to their health.
Big Apple residents are taking better care of themselves by cutting down on smoking, junk food and drinking, while exercising more, according to a report released Wednesday by the city's health department.
Not only is life expectancy at a record high, with the average New Yorker living to 80.9 years, it's a three-year increase from 2001, according to the Take Care New York 2012 report.
Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said the secret behind the improvements is the city's focus on preventive health care and its push for better lifestyles.
"The combined result is that New Yorkers are now living longer and healthier lives than ever before," he said in a statement.
The study began in 2004, when the city set 10 goals to improve its overall bill of health. The recent report tracked changes in key "health core" areas from 2007 to 2012.
Many of these sectors showed significant improvements during that stretch of time.
Slightly more than 15% of New York adults smoked in 2012, 2% less than five years ago and a 28% drop from 2002.
During that decade, Mayor Michael Bloomberg began his campaign to reduce smoking with bans in restaurants and then in public parks.
Deaths from cardiovascular disease went from 54.3 people per 100,000 in 2007 to 44.2 in 2011, according to the report. Experts say the change is very important for the overall health of New Yorkers.
"Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death," said Lisa Young, a nutritionist who teaches at NYU. "That has a huge effect on mortality rates."
During his 12-year tenure, the mayor aimed to reduce the city's obesity rate with various strategies, including advertising campaigns and the plan to ban the sale of oversized sugary drinks. Even though the ban fizzled due to a lawsuit and is under appeal, it seems that New Yorkers are getting his message. The number of people who drink at least one sugar-sweetened beverage per day declined from 35.9% in 2007 to 28.2% in 2012, the report said.
The report also found that teen pregnancy greatly decreased from 2007, when the rate was 84.9 births per 1,000 teens, to 69.2 births per 1,000 in 2011.
Joan Malin, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of New York City, said the health department has increased its work with nonprofits to promote sexual health programs.
"The decline in teen pregnancies shows this approach is working and underscores the continued importance of high-quality sex education and access to affordable birth control for adolescents," she said.
Here are some of the improvements the city made recently, according to the health department.
-- The age-adjusted HIV/AIDS death rate decreased from 13.2 deaths per 100,000 in 2007 to 8.7 per 100,000 in 2011.
-- The percentage of adults who smoked was 16.9% in 2007; it was 15.5% in 2012.
-- Preventable hospitalizations went down from 2,044.2 per 100,000 in 2006 to 1,772.9 per 100,000 in 2010.
-- The percentage of adults who drank soda went down from 35.9% in 2007 to 28.2% last year.
-- Deaths related to cardiovascular disease decreased from 54.3 per 100,000 five years ago to 44.2 per 100,000 in 2011.
-- Teen pregnancies also went down, from 84.9 per 1,000 in 2007 to 69.2 per 1,000 last year.