FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Press Release # 041-10 Wednesday, August 25, 2010
MEDIA CONTACT: (212) 788-5290
Susan Craig/Zoe Tobin: PressOffice@health.nyc.gov
New Report Details Men’s Health in New York City, Highlights Potential for Improvement
Heart disease contributes to longevity gap between the city’s men and women
August 25, 2010 – Life expectancy for New Yorkers is at an
all-time high. City residents born in 2007 can expect to live an average of 79.4
years – a gain of nearly 5 months since 2006. Yet men continue to die six years
younger than women – at 76 years versus 82 years – and more than a third of
deaths among New York City men occur before age 65. A new report from the Health
Department, Men’s Health in New York City, points to heart disease and violence
as leading factors in this longevity gap. The report, available at nyc.gov/health,
describes the most common causes of death, and also provides recommendations to
improve men’s health, safety and life span.
“Complex factors contribute to men's shorter life expectancy and higher death
rates, but many premature deaths are preventable,” said Dr. Thomas Farley, New
York City Health Commissioner. “The Health Department is working to improve
men's health and well-being. Healthier behaviors such as quitting smoking,
exercising and eating well can prevent heart disease and cancer – and efforts to
prevent violence can help save lives.”
In New York City, men are 65% more likely than women to die between the ages
of 35 and 64, mainly because of their higher death rates due to heart disease.
More than 1 million of the 1.5 million men in this age group are either
overweight (46%) or obese (25%) – conditions that increase the risk of heart
disease. In addition, the vast majority (93%) report eating fewer than the
recommended five servings of fruits or vegetables each day, and one in six
report smoking (18%). Many men also face barriers to receiving preventive health
care, as 24% are either uninsured or insured but lacking a regular medical
provider. Only 18% of women face these barriers.
The gender gap is just as striking in younger adults. The report shows that
men aged 18 to 34 die at more than twice the rate of women in New York City.
Homicide has declined markedly in New York over the past two decades, yet it
remains the leading cause of death in this group – claiming the lives of about
260 younger men each year in 2006, 2007 and 2008. In most of these cases, young
men were the perpetrators as well as the victims, suggesting that violence
prevention efforts should focus on this group.
The factors contributing to men's excess mortality vary widely by
neighborhood. Among 35- to 64-year-old men, the highest rates of preventable
hospitalization for heart disease occur in Brooklyn's Williamsburg and Bushwick
neighborhoods, along with the Crotona, Tremont, Highbridge and Morrisania
sections of the Bronx. Violent death follows a similar pattern. For men aged 18
to 34, the study found the highest homicide rates in the Bronx neighborhoods of
Hunts Point and Mott Haven and the Brooklyn neighborhoods of Bedford-Stuyvesant,
Crown Heights and East New York. Young men were also more likely to be
hospitalized for non-fatal assault in these areas, where more than 30% of
residents live in poverty. Poverty affects health through many channels,
increasing stress and limiting people's access to health care, economic
opportunities and good nutrition.
Improving men's health and longevity will require determined effort, both by
individuals and by communities. Here are some of the steps the report
Get at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most
days. Take the stairs, bicycle to work, or exit the subway a stop early and
walk the rest of the way.
Make small, healthy changes to your diet: eat more fruits and vegetables,
choose low-sodium foods, and substitute water or seltzer for sugar-sweetened
Limit alcohol use. Drinking more than two drinks per day increases men's
risk of heart disease, violence, injury, and other health problems.
If you smoke, quit. If you have trouble quitting, speak to your medical
provider about options.
Call 311 for more information on alcohol problems, quitting smoking, or
finding a doctor.
Adult men should get screened for high blood pressure at least every two
years and men 35 and older for cholesterol at least every five years. Equally
important, they should take medication daily if a health care provider
Community groups can engage young men and boys, especially those in
neighborhoods with high rates of homicide or assault, in activities that
promote non-violence and well-being.
Health care professionals can work with all patients, particularly men, to
discourage smoking and promote physical activity and healthy eating.
Health care providers should also closely monitor men's risk factors for
cardiovascular disease, screening them regularly for high blood pressure and
elevated cholesterol, and recommending preventive measures as needed.
Electronic health records can help track blood pressure and cholesterol and
generate preventive care reminders for all patients. For more information,
providers can visit nyc.gov/html/doh/downloads/pdf/chi/chi26-1.pdf