bloomberg nyc

If you want to live longer and healthier than the average American, then come to New York City, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Tuesday, responding to the good news that the city has a life expectancy average of 80.6 years, better than the U.S. average of 78.2 years.

By investing in health care and continuing to encourage more New Yorkers to take charge of their own health, we've experienced dramatic improvements in life expectancy. This news really does make it a happy, healthy New Year, he said.

Life expectancy for 40-year-olds in New York City increased by 2.5 years (from 79.5 to 82) from 2000 to 2009, a substantially greater gain than the 1.2 year increase for the same age group in the U.S. as a whole. At the same time, life expectancy for 70 year-olds in New York City increased 1.5 years, compared with .7 years for the nation, the mayor's office announced in a release.

Of course, there are those who will say that life just feels longer, with all the hustle and bustle, the non-stop noise and the crowds. Seriously, though, Bloomberg has been pushing such health initiatives as his famous anti-smoking drive, which certainly helps. New York has also led the way in HIV care and interventions, with testing of almost 200,000 patients in Health and Hospitals Corp. facilities -- three times as many as six years earlier. This led to fewer than 3,500 new cases of HIV being diagnosed in 2010 -- down 30 percent from 2002.

Heart disease and cancer rates also dropped, according to the report. Deaths associated with heart ills were down 27.9 percent since 2002 -- at least partly the result of a 35 percent drop in the number of smokers in the same time period. Only 14 percent of New Yorkers are still smoking, the city reported. In addition, improved treatment for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and heart disease also played a part. Cancer death rates dropped 4.3 percent from 2002.

Infant mortality have also fallen in 2010 to a historic low of 4.9 per 1,000 live births. That's the lowest rate since 1898, when the boroughs were combined to form the City of New York.

Though progress has been made, the mayor's office noted, heart disease and cancer, along with influenza and pneumonia, are still the top three causes of death, followed by lung disease and diabetes. Thirty percent of all deaths in the city take place before age 65, with 15,000 New Yorkers dying prematurely.