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Non-New Yorkers Die Sooner Than Their Betters In NYC

Eat your heart out, Ohio!
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Eat your heart out, Ohio! Flickr User NYCViaRachel

Well, it seems there's some consolation for those of you who choose to reside anywhere other than the greatest city in America! Non-New Yorkers can least look forward to their baffling, blinkered lives ending sooner than if they'd actually followed their dreams in the big city. At a press conference at a Bronx maternity ward today, Mayor Bloomberg announced that babies born in NYC in 2009 have an average life expectancy of 80.6 years, nearly two and a half years more than the most recently reported national rate of 78.2 years. And 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.

"I will live on average 1.8 years more by living in New York City," Bloomberg reportedly bragged. According to the Health Department's Bureau of Vital Statistics, which analyzed data from death certificates, life expectancy for 40-year-olds in New York City increased by 2.5 years (79.5 to 82) from 2000 to 2009, a substantially greater gain than the 1.2 year increase for the same age group in the U.S. as a whole. At the same time, life expectancy for 70 year-olds in New York City increased 1.5 years, compared with .7 years for the nation. This aging improvement was faster than any major city for both women and men, the study says.

So why do New Yorkers excel so much in living, and look so cool doing it? Well, according to the Bloomberg administration's press release, we have the Bloomberg administration to thank: "smoking prevention programs and expanded HIV testing and treatment have contributed to this success." And the officials also pointed out that these gains don't even factor in any future improvements in medical science. If medical research keeps advancing at its current rate, Lit Lounge is going to need to install one of those motorized bannister chair lifts for its aging clientele. Come to think of it, they could use that anyway; those stairs are treacherous after you've had a few dozen drinks.

At today's press conference, a reporter asked the mayor if education is linked to the increased life expectancy. "A lot of these things trend together," Bloomberg said. "The more stable the family, the more stable the educational level is. You can't take any one and say that's why life expectancy is greater or worse. One of the things life expectancy gets influenced by through education is to teach kids to go home say to parents, "Don't smoke." Same thing with healthy foods. A course about nutrition in elementary school means kids go home and want to know why they don't eat that way at home."

Recent trends through 2010 in mortality rates for these conditions are included below, in order of significance, from the Health Department:

HIV infection-related disease

- Early identification and treatment of HIV infection has greatly reduced AIDS and HIV-related mortality. The mortality rate from HIV infection is declining at a faster rate than other causes of death in New York City; the rate is down by 11.3 percent since 2009 and 51.9 percent since 2002.

New York City has led the way in HIV health interventions; the City’s Health and Hospitals Corporation, the largest provider of HIV primary care in New York City began offering HIV testing as a routine part of medical care five years before New York State began requiring that medical providers do so. The City’s “The Bronx Knows” borough-wide HIV testing initiative has partnered with community organizations to conduct more than 600,000 HIV tests in three years and “Brooklyn Knows” in just one year’s time has conducted nearly 115,000 tests that have enabled people from Williamsburg to Coney Island to learn their HIV status. Since 2005, HHC has diagnosed 10,700 HIV positive individuals, and linked and retained thousands in HIV primary care, improving their health and the health of the community.

More New Yorkers are getting tested than ever before, and those testing positive are getting into treatment faster, with more consistent care and treatment; more than 90 percent of patients diagnosed positive at HHC facilities are linked to life-saving HIV medical care and treatment within 90 days of being diagnosed. In Fiscal Year 2011 alone, HHC facilities tested 195,516 patients - more than three times the number tested just six years earlier and preliminary data suggests that fewer than 3,500 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in New York City for 2010, a more than a 30 percent decrease from 2002.

Heart disease & cancer - Deaths from heart disease are down by 27.9 percent since 2002. This sharp decrease is attributable in part to a 35 percent decrease in the number of smokers since 2002, and in part to improvements in care for people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol, or heart disease. Overall cancer mortality rates have decreased by 4.3 percent since 2002 from 170.2 to 162.9 deaths per 100,000 people in 2010.

The Mayor’s anti-smoking efforts
- including hard-hitting public health education campaigns, changes in legislation such as the 2002 Smoke-Free Air Act and excise taxes on cigarettes, and the 311 Quit-line, - have resulted in the City’s 2010 all-time smoking low, with only 14 out of 100 New Yorkers still smoking. Smoking among teenagers has also dropped dramatically from 2001 to 2010 with the proportion of public high school students who smoke cut by more than half, from 18 percent to 7 percent.

Drug-related deaths - Deaths from overdose from heroin, cocaine/crack use, and other illicit drugs have fallen overall since 2002. Among people 15 years old and older the death rate from unintentional drug overdose declined to 9 deaths per 100,000 in 2010, a 24 percent decrease since 2002.

Infant mortality - Infant mortality rates have fallen, reflecting healthier mothers and better obstetric and pediatric care. In 2010, the City’s infant mortality rate fell to a historic low of 4.9 deaths per 1,000 live births - the lowest rate since 1898 when the five boroughs were combined to form the modern City of New York. This improvement surpassed the city’s Take Care New York goal of reducing the infant mortality rate to 5 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2012 and also surpassed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Service Healthy People 2020 goal of 6 deaths per 1,000 live births.

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