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Press Release

Press Release # 013-11
Wednesday, June 22, 2011

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Susan Craig/Zoe Tobin:

Health Department Releases Two-Year Progress Report on City’s Take Care New York 2012 Health Agenda

Fewer Smokers, More New Yorkers Getting Tested for HIV, and Increases in Physical Activity Pave Way for a Healthier City

June 22, 2011 –With safer streets, more recreational spaces, expanded access to testing and screening for disease, and increased supports for smoking cessation, it is getting easier to be healthier in New York City. More City residents are heeding the call to “take care” as outlined in Take Care New York (TCNY) 2012: A Policy for a Healthier New York City. Launched in 2009, TCNY 2012 set measurable four-year goals for improvements in the health of all City residents. A new two-year progress report, Take Care New York 2012: Tracking the City’s Progress, 2009-2010, highlights the agency’s accomplishments and activities over these years and lays a blueprint to successfully reach the goals set forth by the 2012 plan.

“We are making real progress toward our 2012 goals with the support of our Take Care New York partners throughout the city,” said Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas A. Farley. “By continuing to focus on citywide policies to make healthier choices easier, increasing access to high-quality preventive care and using results-oriented programs to promote health, we can achieve even more together and live longer.”

Life expectancy in New York City is at an all-time high, standing strong at 79.4 years – higher than the national rate of 78 years – and overall mortality and infant mortality rates continue to decrease with 6.3 deaths per 1,000 people and 5.3 deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively.

Take Care New York 2012 built upon the successes of 2004’s Take Care New York, the City’s first comprehensive health policy, by setting new goals for 10 health priorities that have the potential for the greatest impact on the health of New Yorkers. For each priority area, success is measured through core indicators that track progress toward each target. The plan is framed around using evidence-based programs and policies to address each of the 10 key health improvement areas.

Take Care New York 2012 set 4-year goals for 41 indicators of health. Outlined below is an update on the progress made across these core indicators and a summary of the targets for indicators that have already been surpassed.

Core Indicator Milestones:
  • Fewer New Yorkers are smoking, with the rate at an all-time low of 15.8% – a 6.5% decrease since 2007 and 27% decrease since 2002 – while deaths that are attributable to smoking have continued to decline steadily.
  • More adults are getting tested for HIV infection, and fewer New Yorkers are becoming infected with and dying from HIV/AIDS, with a 19% decline in the death rate since 2007.
  • Adults are improving their levels of physical activity and drinking fewer sugary beverages, with a 6.5% decrease in the percent of adults who are physically inactive and a 12% decrease in the percent of adults who consume 1 or more sugar-sweetened beverages on a daily basis from 2007 to 2009.
  • Premature deaths from major cardiovascular disease declined by 5% since 2007 and nearly 20% since 2002, and the disparity between the numbers of blacks and whites who die from heart disease is narrowing.
  • Drug overdose deaths declined for the third year in a row, with a 17% decrease from 2007 to 2009.
  • 66% of adults 50 years and older have had a colonoscopy in the last 10 years, up from 62% in 2007.
  • More than 2,400 health care providers now use electronic health records that help improve quality and efficiency of primary care practices, preventing disease and illness. Doctors using the system are more likely to screen their patients for high blood pressure, cholesterol, and smoking, and patients are more likely to take the proactive, habitual steps needed to keep themselves healthy.
  • Housing quality improved across the city, with the percentage of properties with poor conditions decreasing in both low- and high-income neighborhoods.
Indicator targets surpassed in just 2 years:
  • The disparity between high- and low-income neighborhoods in the rate of pedestrian injury hospitalizations for children decreased, with the gap reduced to 15.4 per 100,000, exceeding the goal of reducing the gap to 20.0 per 100,000.
  • The disparity between blacks and whites in infant deaths due to injuries and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) decreased by 19%. This reduction in the gap to 8.5 deaths per 10,000 births surpassed the goal of 9.0 deaths per 10,000.
  • HPV vaccination among girls aged 13-17 increased by 104% from 14.3% in 2008 to 29.2% in 2010, exceeding the goal of a 75% increase.
  • 35.3% fewer properties in the Bronx have signs of rats, more than double the 2012 target of a 15% decrease.

Since 2009, the Health Department has implemented numerous programs and policies to improve the health of New Yorkers and to reach the goals set forth by TCNY 2012, including:

  • Distributing more than 68,000 courses of nicotine replacement therapy to New Yorkers through 311 and community partnerships.
  • Expanding the City’s Smoke-Free Air Act to include parks, beaches and pedestrian plazas.
  • Hard-hitting educational campaigns on the consequences of tobacco use, becoming HIV positive, excessive drinking, consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages and sodium in packaged foods.
  • Cutting the amount of sodium in restaurant and packaged food through the voluntary National Salt Reduction Initiative (NSRI). NSRI aims to reduce Americans’ salt intake by 20% by 2014.
  • Through collaborations with other City agencies, encouraging physical activity through programs such as Summer Streets, Play Streets and Weekend Walks. In 2011, the Health and Parks Departments launched BeFitNYC and Make NYC Your Gym, campaigns to promote physical activity citywide.
  • The Bronx Knows HIV testing initiative, through which more than 400,000 HIV tests were offered and conducted among Bronx adults, and the recently launched Brooklyn Knows HIV testing initiative, which aims to test 580,000 Brooklyn residents who do not yet know their HIV status by 2014.
  • Expedited Partner Therapy for chlamydia, which allows health care providers to give patients a prescription or medication for their sex partners without the partners requiring a separate medical visit.
  • Expanding Screening, Brief Intervention, Referral, and Treatment (SBIRT) for alcohol and substance use problems to six of the Health Department’s STD clinics and two hospital emergency departments, screening nearly 96,000 people in 2009 and 2010.
  • Administering more than 18,000 HPV vaccinations at the Department’s immunization clinics and school-based health centers.
  • Launching the NYC Regional Electronic Adoption Center for Health (REACH) in 2010 to assist more than 4,500 providers in achieving meaningful use of electronic health records. More than 1,700 providers enrolled in 2010 alone.

Despite these gains and the launch of effective programs and initiatives, there is more work to be done. Ensuring that men who have sex with men (MSM) have access to and use condoms regularly, ensuring New Yorkers with depression get the treatment they need, and reducing health disparities, particularly in deaths from colorectal cancer and cardiovascular disease, are all areas where more progress must be made. Clear goals within TCNY 2012 and targeted programs will help Health Department staff and community partners reverse unhealthy trends in these important areas.

Air Quality: New Indicators Track How NYC Air Affects Health

New to Take Care New York 2012: Tracking the City’s Progress, 2009-2010, are two indicators on air quality. Air pollutants have a significant impact on health as they trigger asthma and also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke. In 2009, the agency released data from the first-ever New York City Community Air Survey on neighborhood air pollution. Among other findings, the report documents an immediate and substantial air quality improvement in Times Square after the creation of a pedestrian plaza. A subset of these data has been added to this report and will be tracked over the coming years.

Get Involved in Making NYC Healthy

To date, more than 550 organizations have signed up as Take Care New York partners, including community groups, health care organizations and private businesses. Fifty-five partners have earned the distinction of being designated as Take Care New York Champions. These partners have demonstrated their commitment to TCNY 2012 by implementing at least three activities, programs, or policies that address any of the 10 areas for improvement in health.

About the Report

Take Care New York 2012: Tracking the City’s Progress, 2009-2010 is comprised of data from the Health Department, including the 2008 and 2009 Community Health Surveys and vital statistics data from 2008 and 2009, as well as data from the New York State Department of Health. For more information on Take Care New York, including information on how to become a community partner or volunteer, visit or call 311.