New Yorkers are living longer than ever

August 25, 2010 7:55:40 AM PDT
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. 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, 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."

Improving men's health and longevity will require determined effort, both by individuals and by communities. Here are some of the steps the report recommends:

  • 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 beverages.

  • 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 recommends it.

  • 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