By Philip Newman
What is the key to living a longer life?
Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s prescription: Move to New York City.
The city Department of Health says a New York City baby born in 2009 can expect to live 80.6 years, compared with an average of 78.2 years for infants born in the rest of the United States.
“If you want to live longer and healthier than the average American, then come to New York City,” Bloomberg said. “By investing in health care 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 New Year.”
The beaming Bloomberg used the royal “we” in proudly announcing the news last month at Lincoln Hospital in the Bronx. But his gleaming face reflected pride in a major part of his nearly a decade in office: his push to improve health among Gothamites.
Bloomberg almost unceasingly has used his office for initiatives against smoking in most public places, discouraging trans fats in restaurants and drives against high sugar content soft drinks, particularly among schoolchildren.
“New York City residents are healthier than ever,” said Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs. “Cleaner air, safer streets, healthier food — these all contribute to improved quality of our lives.”
The DOH also said life expectancy for 40-year-olds increased from 79.5 to 82 years from 2000-09 and life expectancy for 70-year-olds increased by 1.5 years to 86.9 compared with 85.1 nationwide.
From 2000 to 2009, the most recent year for which such statistics are available, New York City life expectancy for both men (78) and women (83) has increased.
The Health Department, which analyzed data on death certificates, said improvements in prevention and treatment of HIV diseases, heart disease, cancer, drug overdoses and infant mortality made the biggest contributions to longer lives.
“Fewer New Yorkers are dying from HIV-related illness and smoking-related illnesses,” said Health Commissioner Thomas Farley. “Since 2002, nearly a half million New Yorkers have quit smoking, dramatically reducing their risk of heart disease and cancer.”
Reach contributing writer Philip Newman by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 718-260-4536.