Mayor: New Yorkers live longer and healthier lives
Babies born in New York City in 2009 can expect to live on average 80.6 years, roughly 2-1/2 years more than the most recently reported national rate of 78.2 years, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said at a press briefing.
The mayor, who has made public health a centerpiece of his decade running America's biggest city, attributed the good news about New Yorkers' longer and healthier lives to a multitude of initiatives by his administration, including bans on public smoking and the use of trans-fats in restaurants.
He also credited the early detection and treatment of HIV. The rate of death from HIV since 2002 is down by 51.9%. Infant mortality rates also continued to fall to an all-time low of 4.9 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010.
“If you want to live longer and healthier than the average American, then come to New York City,” Bloomberg was quoted as saying. “By investing in healthcare and continuing to encourage more New Yorkers to take charge of their own health, we’ve experienced dramatic improvements in life expectancy. This news really does make it a happy, healthy New Year.”
The mayor announced the results at a briefing at a Bronx maternity ward that delivered 2,574 babies in 2010. The new data were culled by the city's Health Department, specifically its Bureau of Vital Statistics, which analyzed death certificates.
Life expectancy for 40-year-old New Yorkers increased by 2.5 years (79.5 to 82) from 2000 to 2009 compared to the 1.2-year increase in that age group nationally, the research showed. During the same period, 70-year-old New Yorkers gained 1.5 years compared with 0.7 years for the nation. This improvement was faster than any major city for both women and men.
Envious non-New Yorkers can read details of the study and comments by gloating public officials on the city's website.
In addition to the city's own analysis, others gave their views of the improved life span for New Yorkers: A UCLA professor told the Wall Street Journal he wasn't surprised by the results, considering that urbanites here walk more and eat less than in the rest of the country. The iconoclasts at Gothamist.com had a typically, well, iconoclastic take on the new data: "... though there's no official research on this, it's safe to assume that those extra two and a half golden years in NYC are packed with mindblowing sex and prolific novel-writing."
Or, as the great Borscht belt comic said when told that married people live longer: It only seems longer.
-- Geraldine Baum
Photo: Children participate in a 2008 gymnastics class in New York. Credit: Tina Fineberg / Associated Press