New report outlines New Yorkers health problems

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New York City residents are living longer than ever, but our city still faces significant health problems. In a new report, the leading causes of preventable illness and death in New York City are outlined.

Tackling these issues requires concerted action: New Yorkers must take increased responsibility for their health; health care institutions and community organizations must provide prevention-focused health care; and city, state and federal governments must work to provide a healthier environment.

The report focuses on the 10 leading health issues facing New York City, including smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and other preventable causes of heart disease, cancer screening, immunizations against influenza and pneumonia, mental health, HIV/AIDS prevention, screening and treatment of alcohol and other substance abuse, and the control of asthma. A critical first step in tackling any of these health issues is to ensure that all New Yorkers have access to affordable, high-quality health care.

  • More than half a million New Yorkers reported needing medical care in the past 12 months, but not receiving it.
  • 31% of adults, age 18–64 years, with no health coverage were unable to get necessary health care when they needed it—twice the rate of publicly insured people and 6 times that of people with private insurance.
  • 1.4 million New Yorkers do not have a personal doctor. Sixty percent of those without health care coverage did not have a doctor, twice the rate of those with public insurance, and 3 times the rate of those with private insurance.
  • Surprisingly, nearly 70% of adults who do not have a personal doctor have health coverage. 

New York City’s biggest killer — heart disease — is on the run

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in New York City and nationally. There are many risk factors for heart disease. Most, such as smoking and physical inactivity, can be controlled.

  • 74% of New Yorkers (4.5 million adults) have at least one of the risk factors for heart disease.
  • Risk factors for heart disease include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes. Up to one third of people with high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol are not aware that they have these conditions.
  • Among those who know that they have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, only a small proportion have these problems under optimal control.
  • Among those who know they have high cholesterol, 64% are not taking medication.
  • Among those who know they have high blood pressure, 32% are not taking medication — 38% of men compared with 28% of women. 

Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death in New York City

  • Smoking kills more New Yorkers than alcohol, suicide, homicide, motor vehicle crashes, heroin and cocaine use, and breast cancer combined.
  • 22% of adult New Yorkers (1.3 million) currently smoke cigarettes.
  • It is encouraging that African- Americans, age 18–29 years, have a lower rate of smoking (14%) compared with whites (31%).
  • A cause for concern, however, is that older African-Americans — in particular, men — smoke much more (17%) than older white men (9%).

Full Report




The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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