Want to live a long and healthy life? You may want to move to New York City. At least, that is, according to the city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg. Bloomberg announced yesterday that according to new statistics compiled by the city's health officials, New Yorkers are living longer than ever — even longer than the national average.
"If you have friends and relatives who you care about and they live elsewhere, on average, if they move to New York City, they will live longer," the mayor said at a news conference at a maternity ward of a Bronx hospital.
That's a bold statement — but apparently, he's got the numbers to back it up. According to the new statistics, babies born in NYC in 2009 have a record-high life expectancy of 80.6 years — that's nearly 2.5 years higher than the most recently reported national average of 78.2 years.
Why is the Big Apple seeing such a boon of good health?
Bloomberg pointed to several factors that account for the increased life span in New York. For starters, the city's HIV prevention and AIDS treatment programs have decreased the mortality rate for AIDS/HIV by more than 50 percent since 2002. Better obstetric and pediatric care has led to a historically low infant mortality rate of 4.9 deaths per 1,000 births last year — the lowest since the five boroughs became one city in 1898.
Bloomberg also noted policies under his administration — such as bans on public smoking and trans-fats in restaurants, requiring calorie information at restaurants, and passing out free nicotine patches — which he says have lead to better personal health choices by New Yorkers. Health officials say more than half a million New Yorkers have quit smoking since 2002 under the city's program.
“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, healthy New Year,” said Bloomberg.