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Kris
April 22nd, 2003, 06:55 AM
April 22, 2003
For Long Life, Try Living in New York, Report Says
By RICHARD PÉREZ-PEÑA

The next time you start to mutter under your breath about how life in the big city is taking years off your life, think about this: New Yorkers are living a lot longer than they did a decade ago and are living longer than Americans as a whole.

Life expectancy in New York City stands at an estimated 77.6 years over all, the longest in history; 80.2 years for women; and 74.5 years for men, the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene reported yesterday. As for your fears of West Nile, anthrax, SARS, reckless cabbies and all the other perils of life in the metropolis, consider that for the first time in 60 years, life expectancy for New Yorkers is above the national average, by about seven months.

The figures come from the department's annual summary of vital statistics, a trivia lover's dream that includes 66 pages of data, from the big picture to the minutia, on the lives and deaths of New Yorkers. The report is available on the department's Web site at http://www.nyc.gov/html/doh/pdf/vs/2001sum.pdf.

Life spans in the city are much longer than they were a decade ago, by 3.2 years for women and a striking 6.8 years for men, thanks mostly to the drop in homicides and AIDS deaths.

Partly for those same reasons, black New Yorkers gained more ground than others, but they continue to live about five years less than whites and seven years less than Hispanics. The disparity is clearest among the very old; non-Hispanic whites account for 35 percent of the city's population, but they are 69 percent of the people 85 or older.

(Technically, the life expectancy figures are predictions for babies born in 2000. But in fact, they are based on the ages at which people died in 1999 through 2001, not counting those killed in the World Trade Center attack. If the trade center dead were included, the average would be one-tenth of a year lower.)

In 2001, 124,023 new New Yorkers entered the world, or 15.5 per 1,000 of population, the lowest rate since 1981.

Still, they more than compensated for the lowest death rate in the city's history, 7.5 per thousand, or 60,218 people who drew their last within the five boroughs in 2001. (If the trade center victims were included in that calculation, it would still be the fourth-lowest the city had ever recorded.)

Fewer New Yorkers die each year now than did a century ago, when the city's population was less than half as big. Infant mortality in 2001 was the lowest in history, 6.1 per 1,000, continuing a trend that has been going on for decades.

Predictably, heart disease and cancer were the runaway leaders among causes of death in 2001, as they are for all Americans, with a combined 63 percent of the total.

More surprising is that AIDS and H.I.V.-related ailments remained in third place in the city. The disease caused 2 percent of all deaths in 2001, or 1,166 lives ended, mostly Hispanics and blacks, despite the drug cocktails that have granted long life to so many infected people. AIDS and H.I.V.-related ailments are still the leading cause of death among New Yorkers ages 35 to 44.

Smoking, not technically considered a cause of death, was the underlying cause of 7 percent of all deaths, the department said.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

Just Rich
April 22nd, 2003, 09:59 AM
I'm packing my bags and hauling ass to New York so I can live a long and fulfilling life!

NYatKNIGHT
April 22nd, 2003, 03:46 PM
I love when statistics like this fly in the face of the New York stereotype. First the nation finds out we're the safest, now this. True or not, it's great publicity, and I notice this news item is all over the media today.

NYguy
April 24th, 2003, 03:14 PM
Quote: from NYatKNIGHT on 3:46 pm on April 22, 2003
I love when statistics like this fly in the face of the New York stereotype. First the nation finds out we're the safest, now this. True or not, it's great publicity, and I notice this news item is all over the media today.

That's true. *People are always willing to believe the worst about NY, but when the truth comes out they'll brush it off as unrealistic.

Fabb
April 24th, 2003, 05:45 PM
More surprising is that AIDS and H.I.V.-related ailments remained in third place in the city.

That's troubling.
I thought AIDS belonged in the past.

Kris
April 25th, 2003, 05:52 AM
April 25, 2003
Who Says That Life Is Too Short?
By CLYDE HABERMAN

THE second-best health news to come this way in a long time was word the other day that New Yorkers are living longer than ever, longer indeed than the average American, by half a year.

This is ranked second because there was something more exciting about a scientific study in the mid-1990's showing that New York men had the highest sperm counts in the country.

To this day, it is not clear why men here are so stellar, says Dr. Harry Fisch, who conducted the study for the Male Infertility Center at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center. But there it is, Dr. Fisch said this week. Who are we to argue?

Mind you, the report on New Yorkers' life expectancy, issued by the city's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, is welcome. Over all, it said, we can expect to live 77.6 years. For men, the figure is 74.5 years, for women 80.2 years. In 1990, the comparable numbers were 67.7 and 77.0.

So both sexes are doing better. But men are catching up, probably because homicides and AIDS deaths have declined sharply. Narrowing the gap is no small thing for XY types, who spend their entire lives knowing that the only thing most of them have to look forward to, in the end, is being buried by their wives.

Not measured is the extent to which New Yorkers might live even longer if it weren't for the city's stresses. Forget the usual complaints: noise, air pollution, the frenetic pace, the high prices, blah blah blah. We're talking instead about death from a thousand cuts: the minor indignities of New York living that tear relentlessly at the soul and, ultimately, the body.

In the 1960's, Dr. Thomas Holmes, a psychiatrist, and Richard Rahe, a Navy scientist, created a stress scale that sought to measure the health consequences of 43 events in life. They ranged from the death of a spouse (assigned a stress value of 100) to minor violations like a traffic ticket (valued at 11). If your score for the 43 events totaled 300 or more, you were deemed a high risk for falling ill within a year.

Perhaps New York needs a comparable scale of its own.

We certainly have daily occurrences that are worth at least 11 points. How about the car that nearly ran you over when it barreled through the intersection? Or the bicycle messenger who almost knocked you down as he zoomed the wrong way on a one-way street?

Even if each day does not bring an 11-point moment, or one with a value of 50 (marriage being such an event on the Holmes-Rahe scale), New Yorkers suffer from endless petty annoyances that must each be worth a 2 or a 3. They add up.

Admit it, aren't you driven a wee bit crazy by:

The droit du seigneur types who breeze by without so much as a nod, let alone a thank you, when you hold the door for them?

Men on the subway who sit with legs spread so wide that they take up three seats?

Movie theaters that make you endure obnoxious commercials even though you have paid $10 to get in?

Mommies and daddies who feel the entire bus must share the parenting experience by being subjected to loud choruses of "the wipers of the bus go swish, swish, swish"?

Bus drivers who cannot be bothered with calling out the stops at night, when no one can read street signs through the tinted windows?

Dog walkers who take up the entire sidewalk with superlong leashes?

Restaurants that don't butter the toast, leaving you to wrestle with rock-hard pats?

Subway panhandlers who begin with a spiel about how they hate to disturb you while you're reading, and in so doing disturb you?

Impatient people who push the elevator button repeatedly as if that will make the thing come faster?


THE list could go on and on, to include such obvious irritants as cellphones in public places, car alarms and S.U.V.'s with booming stereos. Who knows how many years they have collectively sliced off the New York life expectancy?

Among the optimists, however, is Dr. Bruce S. McEwen, an expert on stress and a neuroendocrinologist at Rockefeller University. In the main, the body adapts to the pressures, Dr. McEwen said. He is convinced that New York stress can even be beneficial if people cope with it sensibly by exercising, eating right, sleeping enough and so on.

"There is something to being in a challenging, stimulating environment," he said.

Here's hoping he is right. There is only so much comfort a fellow can take in those high sperm counts.


Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

ZippyTheChimp
April 25th, 2003, 07:41 AM
People who stop at the top (or bottom) of a crowded escalator, and take a few moments to decide which way they want to go.

NYatKNIGHT
April 25th, 2003, 10:16 AM
Don't even get me started on the escalator morons!

How about that car that stops in the crosswalk, I just want to walk over it sometimes.